mtu Environmental Foundation finances research into Burgundy blood algae on Lake Constance
Posted on August 26, 2019
Rolls-Royce's mtu Environmental Foundation is providing a grant to the value of 21,000 euros to support the department of biology at the University of Konstanz.
- Biology Department at University of Konstanz awarded 21,000 euros for lake research project
Rolls-Royce's mtu Environmental Foundation is providing a grant to the value of 21,000 euros to support the department of biology at the University of Konstanz. In a two-year research project that began in April 2019, biologists are examining whether fish in Lake Constance display toxic loading caused by the presence of Planktothrix rubescens - a form of bacterial algae.
The central question the project is seeking to answer is whether toxins from the algae are accumulating in the food web. Researchers will thus collect some 300 lake water samples and examine phytoplankton, zooplankton and fish for their toxin content. "Should we be able to prove the presence of toxins, it is quite possible that these are also being ingested by humans when they consume fish,” explains Dr Martin-Creuzburg, lecturer at the University of Konstanz, who is leading the project. The theory is that higher water temperatures, especially in the late summer months, allow warm water layers to develop with little mixing. This is where the Burgundy blood algae proliferates, at depths of 15 to 20m. Researchers are expecting the first results on the spread of toxins at the end of the year.
The focus of the project lies on the food web. In the first phase, the bacterial bloom itself and Lake Constance fish will be examined. In the second phase, researchers will turn their attention to other lake creatures, both in the littoral zone and open area. Their aim is to obtain results that are as meaningful as possible with respect to the accumulation of toxins in the food web as a whole.
The mtu Environmental Foundation was set up in 2004 with an endowment capital of over half a million euros. Its mission is to promote environmental and nature conservation projects on Lake Constance. “Our aim is to protect the natural resources that the lake offers to human beings, flora and fauna, and to conserve and restore the lake's biodiversity,” explains Michael Spiegel, Chairman of the Board of the mtu Environmental Foundation. The grants are usually awarded for a period of two years. The last project supported by the mtu Environmental Foundation was undertaken by pupils at the Claude Dornier School in Friedrichshafen in the field of bee protection on Lake Constance.