Meet Frederike Keitel-Gröner, new ARCEx Postdoc

Frederike Keitel-Gröner has started in a Postdoc position at IRIS, within work package 3 of ARCEx. She will be involved in task 3.3 Sensitivity of key species within northern ecosystems, and her project’s working title is “Arctic species sensitivity to petroleum discharges with special emphasis on the effects of mechanically and chemically dispersed oil”. In the text below, she presents herself and her project.

I hold a MSc in Biology with focus on ecophysiology and aquatic systems from the University of Münster, Germany. For my thesis I joined the Helmholtz-Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany and conducted experiments on the stress performance of native versus invasive colonial ascidians. The fieldwork and experiments were located at the School of Ocean Sciences at Bangor University, Wales. For about a year I worked as a research fellow at the Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology, Germany on improvements in the rearing of ornamental fish larvae, before I started as a research fellow at the Dept. of Ecophysiology and Aquaculture at the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Germany where I conducted my PhD research on the effects of human pharmaceuticals on the physiology and development of an aquaculture fish species (Oreochromis niloticus).

After moving to Stavanger for family reasons, I got in contact with IRIS and recognized my research interests in the work conducted here. I completed a six months work training at IRIS and got first insights into oil and dispersant related research topics and their omnipresence in the Norwegian research environment. I can literally see the importance of the research conducted within ARCEx when I look out the lab window and see an oil rigg “parked” in the Byfjorden of Stavanger.

I am very happy that I could join ARCEx and contribute to a better understanding of the impacts of (accidental) oil discharges in the marine environment, especially in such a unique, remote region as the Arctic. I regard mimicking environmental relevant exposure scenarios in laboratory studies as a necessary step to understand contamination challenges and to provide adequate solution tools. During the Postdoc, I will focus on few relevant Arctic zooplankton species and conduct laboratory exposure experiments to gain more knowledge on their sensitivity to petroleum discharges, mainly related to oil spills and the application of chemical dispersants to combat these. Another aspect will be to work with different life stages to account for differences in their sensitivity. As my research activity so far was concentrated on single exposure set-ups, both in climate change scenarios and in the context of human mediated pollutants, I would like to combine these aspects in my research now, as stressors most likely occur in combination in the environment and might have far more severe effects then. Climate change is hitting the Arctic, and it is very important to study effects under altered climatic conditions as well.