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19 December 2011

Was lebt auf dem Grund der Nordsee – erste flächendeckende Modellergebnisse vorgestellt...

13 December 2011

Neue Schneckenart vor Südenglands Küste entdeckt...

05 December 2011

Mehr Todesopfer durch Schlangenbisse als bisher geschätzt – Experten diskutieren neue Behandlungsmöglichkeiten ...

02 December 2011

Zwei gegen einen Aufsteiger ...

28 November 2011

Vielfalt auf dem Acker als Hoffnungsträger...

24 November 2011

Small forest with big impact: Fragmented rainforests maintain their ecological functionality...

14 November 2011

Die Vermessung der Nachhaltigkeit...

31 October 2011

Welches Potenzial steckt in der biologischen Vielfalt? - Vortrag von Prof. Manfred Niekisch bei Vorlesungsreihe zu Biodiversität, Klimawandel und Gesellschaft...

27 October 2011

Macht uns der Klimawandel krank? - Thementag am 2. November 2011 im Senckenberg Naturmuseum in Frankfurt am Main...

25 October 2011

Valuing the savanna: Products from savanna generate 39 percent of total household income in Northern Benin (West Africa)...

12 October 2011

Genome of the brown bear is now sequenced - scientists hope to learn about adaptations to climate change...

11 October 2011

Warum geschieht so wenig, obwohl die Zeit davonläuft?...

05 September 2011

It’s all in the head: Songbirds with bigger brains have benefited from the end of communism...

30 August 2011

Diploma thesis about „Forest of the Future“ project has been awarded the P&G sustainability prize...

22 August 2011

Global warming may cause higher loss of biodiversity than previously thought...

21 July 2011

BiK-F plays host to International Climate Protection fellow...

08 June 2011

What's in store for lichens? – Pan-European “Common Garden” Experiment studies the reaction to climate change...

06 June 2011

Ein Land auf dem Trockenen: wie Namibia seinen Wassermangel bekämpft...

23 May 2011

Klimawandel beeinträchtigt die biologische Vielfalt und damit die natürlichen Lebensgrundlagen - auch in Deutschland...

20 May 2011

Alles im Fluss? Neuartige Lebensgemeinschaften in unseren Auenlandschaften – Herausforderungen und Chancen...

16 May 2011

Klimawandel und biologische Vielfalt in Deutschland – was kommt auf uns zu und was können wir tun? Experten tagen in Frankfurt...

09 May 2011

Bis zum letzten Tropfen: Warum und wo das Süßwasser knapp wird...

21 April 2011

Damit auch morgen noch genug Wasser für alle da ist: Vernetztes Wassermanagement im 21. Jahrhundert...

20 April 2011

Hyperdiverse flora in Cape region mainly caused by huge range of soil types ...

15 April 2011

Researchers establish short cut to genetic fingerprint of mahagony species...

08 April 2011

Kleine Menge, große Wirkung – Vortrag „Neue Umweltschadstoffe in den Gewässern“...

25 March 2011

Deutschland zwischen Wolkenbruch und Trockenperiode - Vortrag: Extremniederschläge im Klimawandel – Was wissen wir heute?...

11 March 2011

Von Parasiten und Toxinen: todbringendes Lebenselixier Süßwasser...

28 February 2011

Frankfurt – Stadt, Land, Fluss: Vortrag zur Entwicklung und Zukunft des Mains als Lebensader der Stadt...

17 February 2011

Neues gemeinsames Großprojekt: Die deutsche Mückenlandschaft - Forschung am blutsaugenden Insekt...

14 February 2011

Start der neuen Senckenberg-Vortragsreihe „Wasser! – Lebenselixier, Lebensraum, Lebensgefahr“ ...

08 February 2011

Tropical carriers: Hornbills are long‐distance seed‐dispersal agents in South...

02 February 2011

„Sieben Richtige“ für den BioCampus - Antrittsvorlesung der BiK-F-Professuren an der Goethe-Universität...

28 January 2011

Frankfurter Biodiversitätsforscherin in Nationales Komitee für Global Change Forschung berufen...

11 January 2011

Ancient raindrops reveal development of North American ridges...

Press Releases

What's in store for lichens? – Pan-European “Common Garden” Experiment studies the reaction to climate change

Frankfurt am Main, Germany, June 8, 2011. Hanau started it: an experiment of the Frankfurt‐based Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK‐F) was recently initiated, in which lichens are moved to locations which differ significantly in climatic terms from their place of origin, e.g. from the Arctic to Europe. The artificial climate stress should show scientists whether the symbiotic organisms can adapt to climate change, so as to permit them to achieve a better understanding of its influence on terrestrial ecosystems. Within the context of the project financed by the German Research Foundation (DFG), further research locations were established in Norway and in Spain.

Cetraria AculeataWhether in the polar circle or in the hot desert, lichens are spread all over the world. There are an estimated 1 to 10 million species of fungi, which also include lichens, many of which remain undiscovered. Only recently, an international research group, including Prof. Dr. Imke Schmitt of the Biodiversität und Klimaforschungszentrum and Dr. Christian Prinzen of the Senckenberg Research Institute, described around 100 new species of lichens. By virtue of their symbiotic lifestyle, the community of fungi and algae can also grow in locations which are too inhospitable for other organisms, e.g. because they are too cold or too dry. But can these skilled survivors also adapt themselves to climate change and to major changes in temperature?

A study using global drifter lichens
The Frankfurt‐based Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum (BiK‐F) has also recently initiated a field experiment in which representatives of the lichen species Cetraria aculeata were placed under the magnifying glass. The species is flexible with regard to its living environment and its climate. “We find representatives of Cetraria aculeata in moister areas of temperate climate zones like Germany, but also in Extremadura in Spain. Even in the extremely cold polar regions of the Arctic and Antarctic, this species is native,“ says Stephanie Domaschke, the leader of the study who is working on her doctoral thesis at the BiK‐F on the eco‐physiology of lichens. In so doing, she is one of the very small group of 50 scientists researching this field worldwide.

Research locations in three European countries
The same species of lichen may well occur at different locations throughout the world, but according to the geographical location and climate zone, it has evolved different genetic variants, the so‐called haplotypes, which are at the centre of the study. At four collecting locations in Stockstadt am Main, close to Madrid and in the northern and southern polar regions, in each case, 20 individuals of the respective haplotypes of the species of lichen were collected and transferred to another climate zone. In this way, the “Common Garden” experiment anticipates the long‐term effects accompanying climate change: precipitation and temperature will change in their current living environments. Recently, the new habitats for lichens have become three areas in Finse (in the high mountains in the South of Norway), the vicinity of Madrid and the centre of Germany, in Hanau.

Investigations and gas exchange show adaptability
How the lichens thrive in the new climate will then be measured once a year over the next three to four years. On the one hand, the study will determine whether the lichens have gained in weight and volume. On the other, through an investigation of gas exchange, the uptake of carbon dioxide and release of oxygen by the lichens will be measured, in order to obtain a reading of the degree to which the lichens are carrying out photosynthesis. Outside of Germany, the BiK‐F scientist is collaborating on this with the universities in Bergen and Madrid. If everything goes well, the research work will show how adaptable Cetraria aculeata is within the context of imminent global warming.

Particular attention paid to polar circle lichens
Particular attention is paid to the examples native to the polar circle, where climate change is likely to lead to drastic increases in temperature. It is quite probable that lichens growing in these areas will be more sensitive to rising temperatures than varieties of the same species growing in Germany. At the same time, in this barren habitat, lichens play a particularly important role in the ecosystem, since of the few species which occur there, they are among the largest producers of biomass. The forecast of how lichens react to climate change thus allows conclusions to be drawn regarding climate‐dependent changes in the ecosystem.

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