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Dr. Martina Bauchrowitz
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Monday, 17.04.2017

Organized by young researchers for young researchers

Special meeting für young fresh water academics in Budweis

Every two years, the scientific meeting "Fresh Blood for Fresh Water" appealing exclusively to young aquatic ecologists, is organized by a different research institute or university. This year, the Biological Center of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Budweis hosted the conference from April 9th to 13th. Nearly 60 researchers –master and PhD students as well as young postdoctoral fellows – from many European countries took part. Among those also the two LakeLab researchers Susanne Stephan and Cleo Stratmann.

Four junior scientists from IGB, including the two LakeLab researchers Susanne Stephan and Cleo Stratmann, participated in this year's "Fresh Blood for Fresh Water" conference in Budweis from April 9th to 13th. Both found the special format of the meeting attractive and decided to present results from the 2015 LakeLab experiment. This experiment aimed at investigating how lakes react to heavy rain events, and specifically to the input of nutrients and humic substances from the surrounding soils. Susanne Stephan and Cleo Stratmann were particularly interested to know how these substances affect the phytoplankton. Their basic hypothesis was that the dissolved nutrients stimulate the growth of the algae, while the humic substances inhibit their development, since they lead to a brownification of the water. As a consequence less light penetrates into the water column and photosynthesis is repressed.


Two parameters had been examined by the doctoral student, Susanne Stephan: the primary production as a measure for photosynthesis, and the chlorophyll-a content as a measure for the algal biomass. Her results suggest that algal growth, which is normally limited by the availability of nutrients, changes to a light-limited situation by the addition of humic substances. Cleo Stratmann, on the other hand, presented first results on enzyme tests, which she had carried out for her master thesis. She focused on the alkaline phosphatase, a so-called exo-enzyme, which is synthesized by the algae and released into the water under phosphorus-limited conditions, in order to make further organically bound phosphorus available as a nutrient. Stratmann could indeed confirm that the activity of the alkaline phosphatase decreased with increasing phosphorus concentrations. However, a more complex pattern was observed when humic substances were added as a further factor, suggesting different enzyme-regulating mechanisms.



Cleo Stratmann (left) and Susanne Stephan in Budweis.


Both researchers were very impressed by the conference in Budweis. "Because it was a small meeting and all participants were the same age, it was much easier to get in touch with other scientists," says Susanne Stephan. And her colleague, Cleo Stratmann, adds that it was a very good opportunity to get insights into the research and results of other young scientists from different fields of water research and to expand its "young" network. This was not least due to the many informal talks in the evening with a glass of Budweiser beer...



Photographs: Official group photograph from the Fresh Blood for Fresh Water Conference 2017; IGB

Text: Martina Bauchrowitz, IGB

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