Project groups


Since 1991, the Senckenberg Research Group on Marine Zoology has been taking yearly samples of fauna on a grid covering 40 stations. On board the R.V. Senckenberg a two-metre beam trawl was used to collect the fauna. From 1994 on, the addition of 48-hours circadian sampling (at three-hours’ intervals) at one site has enabled an analyse of the day-night rhythms of epibenthic fauna. These datasets now serve as a long-term digital archives on which our most recent project is based.

In the context of the present BiK-F project on species’ area dynamics, the data collected so far are now being re-analysed with specific attention to the long-term effects of climate change on the benthic communities of the Dogger Bank. Additional winter expeditions will now be integrated into the annual research programme. More circadian data sets will be gathered, with the inclusion of winter and summer samplings.

Our research is aimed at comparing diurnal- and tidal sampling periods with the cycles controlled by seasonal temperature dynamics in order to better detect the signal induced by climate change. Long-term trends in the existing decadal dataset provide an opportunity to calibrate the faunal responses. The expected results will facilitate the design of an indicator-system for climate change with special reference to faunal composition and allow better understanding of the impact of events at different temporal scales on local biodiversity.


Sonnewald, M. & M. Türkay (2012) : Abundance analyses of mega‐epibenthic species on the Dogger Bank (North Sea): Diurnal rhythms and short‐term effects caused by repeated trawling, observed at a permanent station. - Journal of Sea Research 73: 1-6.

Sonnewald, M. & M. Türkay (2012) : Environmental influence on the bottom and near-bottom megafauna communities of the Dogger Bank: a long-term survey. - Helgoland Marine Research 66: 503-511.

Sonnewald, M. & R. Janssen (2012) : Recent spreading of Xandarovula patula (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Ovulidae) towards the central North Sea suggests a link to rising water temperatures. - Marine Biodiversity Records 5: e58.

Sonnewald, M. & M. Türkay (2012) : The megaepifauna of the Dogger Bank (North Sea): species composition and faunal characteristics 1991–2008. - Helgoland Marine Research 66: 63-75.

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