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The microbe explainers on the Research Mile

September 07, 2016
They eat carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, clean the seas of dead biological material, and return it to the nutrient cycle: Microorganisms are enormously important for the balance of the marine ecosystem and for the climate. On September 17th and 18th, on the Research Mile at Maritime Week on the Weser Promenade, Professors Frank Oliver Glöckner and Matthias Ullrich will talk about their work as microbiologists – and provide a vivid introduction to the complex world of these smallest of living things. Even using snow under water and lots of rubber duckies.
Frank Oliver Glöckner, Professor of Bioinformatics at Jacobs University and scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, is one of the organizers of the worldwide “Ocean Sampling Days”. At the summer solstice, in Germany alone, about 1000 citizen-scientists took water samples that are being examined in the Bremen laboratories for the smallest forms of life. On the Research Mile, Glöckner has an undersea vehicle in his baggage. Visitors can try it out in a wading pool. If they complete the course, they can win one of the popular Jacobs rubber duckies as a prize, like the ones received by every new student at the international university.
Matthias Ullrich, Professor of Microbiology at Jacobs University, will make it snow under water and simulate the sinking of billions of tiny suspended particles to the bottom of the sea. There will also be an experiment to show how algae and bacteria make contact with one another and the consequences this can have for the climate.
Both scientists look forward to presenting their work to a wide audience on the Research Mile. “The oceans are of central importance for life and the climate on Earth. We want to help people understand important processes in the sea,” says Professor Glöckner. “Certain processes that we will show can normally only be observed in the ocean with  great efforts,” adds Professor Ullrich, “so it will be exciting!”
Maritime Week starts on September 10th and ends with the Festival Weekend on the Schlachte on September 17th and 18th. Between September 12th and 15th, the House of Science will be presenting lectures and films on maritime themes in the evening. During the day, there will be numerous tours of companies involved in the maritime economy as well as city tours in Bremen and Bremerhaven, and it will also be possible to visit historical ships and merchant vessels.
Maritim Woche 2015