The fabulous world of nutrients

Dominik Martin-Creuzburg describes his group's research: "We investigate the importance of essential nutrients for aquatic and terrestrial consumers - such as crustaceans, fish, spiders, bats, birds - and try to assess the consequences of nutrient deficiency for trophic interactions and ecosystem processes against the background of anthropogenic influences and global change. Our approach addresses fundamental, nutrient-related questions of physiology, ecology, and evolution, spans multiple levels of biological organization and complexity, encompasses a wide range of molecular and analytical methods, and includes laboratory, mesocosm, and field experiments."

The nutrition influences growth and reproduction of animals. In addition to elemental nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, animals depend on an adequate supply of essential biochemical nutrients, such as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), sterols, and certain amino acids. The availability of these essential biochemicals is highly dependent on the abundance and species diversity of primary producers and the efficiency of transfer to higher trophic levels. Nutrient deficiencies can have a significant impact on the growth and reproduction of an individual, thus affecting the dynamics of populations and the transfer of substances and energy in the food web.