Meso- and Macrozooplankton Dynamics in the Southwest African Upwelling Region

Zooplankton organisms are important producers and consumers of organic material in marine ecosystems. They transfer carbon to higher trophic levels via the food chain and contribute to the transport of carbon into greater depths. On the other hand, they play an important role for the re-mineralization of organic matter.

Biologist Rolf Koppelmann and his team are working in the Benguela upwelling system off the coast of Namibia. The main goal is to identify the influences of lateral and vertical fluxes of material on the zooplankton community and to assess possible feedback mechanisms in the high productive Benguela Upwelling region.

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Universität Hamburg
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GENUS (Geochemistry and Ecology of the Namibian Upwelling System) aims to clarify relationships between climate change, biogeochemical cycles, and ecosystem structure in the large marine ecosystem of the northern Benguela/Namibian Coast (sout-west Africa). The coastal upwelling system has high seasonal and interannual variability in atmospheric forcing, in properties of water masses on the shelf offshore the Republic of Namibia, and in oxygen supply and demand on the shelf. In consequence, concentrations and ratios of nutrients in upwelling water and their CO2-content have steep gradients in space and time. In the past, significant and economically severe changes in ecosystem structure have occurred which are in part attributed to changes in physical forcing, translated to the ecosystem by oxygen dynamics.

The GENUS project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and is an endorsed project of the Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research (IMBER)

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