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Memorandum of Understanding with Jordan

The ZMT is reviving its long and successful cooperation with the Marine Science Station in Aqaba, Jordan.

In an official ceremony on Thursday, 4 October 2012 in the Marine Science Station (MSS) in Aqaba, Jordan, the director of the University of Jordan and Prof. Dr. Westphal, director of the Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology, Bremen, will sign a new cooperation agreement (Memorandum of Understanding – MoU).

The MoU will renew the long-standing cooperation between the MSS and the ZMT that began 15 years ago with the “Red Sea Programme on Marine Sciences”, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The research programme, conducted by a multidisciplinary team of scientists from Germany, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Palestine and coordinated by the ZMT, studied the ecology of the coral reefs in the Gulf of Aqaba. In addition, a main goal of the project was to contribute to international understanding. One of the initiators of the cooperative project at that time was the founding director of the ZMT, Prof. Dr. Gotthilf Hempel. He is accompanying the delegation and will give a speech describing the cooperation of the two institutions in the past.

The core of the new cooperation is the research project CANCOR (Carbon and Nitrogen Fixation in Coral Reef Ecosystems of the Red Sea) under the direction of the reef ecologist Prof. Dr. Christian Wild. CANCOR started in 2012 and is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). In the Gulf of Aqaba the relevance of important environmental factors for the carbon and nitrogen cycles in the coral reef will be studied.

Whereas it is well known that coral reefs play an important role in the carbon cycle, it remains unclear which organisms play a key role and to what extent they do so. The function of the reefs in the nitrogen cycle has hardly been studied until now. Nitrogen is essential for the growth of organisms in the reef, but the nitrogen supply in the reef environment is limited. How do important environmental parameters such as water temperature and the availability of nutrients influence nitrogen fixation and how is this linked to carbon fixation by primary producers? That is one of the key questions the team of scientists at the Red Sea will address.

Dr. Malik Naumann and the doctoral students Vanessa Bednarz, Laura Rix, Ulisse Cardini and Nanne van Hoytema of the Coral Reef Ecology research group at the ZMT are involved in the CANCOR project, as well as a Jordanian doctoral student, who is currently being selected by the German and Jordanian cooperation partners. In the coming years, both institutions plan to continue the exchange of scientists, to jointly educate and train young researchers and to develop proposals for external funding for new projects.

Further information:

Prof. Dr. Christian Wild
Phone: +49(0)421 / 23800 – 114
email: christian.wilde-mail addresszmt-bremen.de