PD Dr. Patrick Fink
office 0.309, internal phone: 6637
News: Course on stable isotope and fatty acid analysis at the Universidad de Antofagasta, Chile in January 2017
(Click here for further information)
News: On November 17th, 2016, I received the € 10,000 Teaching Prize of the University of Duesseldorf
(Click here for the award video on the HHU website)
News: From April 1st, 2015, I will substitute the chair for zoology (cell biology) at the University of Duesseldorf
Aquatic chemical ecology
Polyunsaturated fatty acids
Stable isotopes in ecology
Biogenic volatile organic compounds
Chemical communication / infochemicals
Inducible and activated defences
Follow my research on ResearchGate
ORCID ID 0000-0002-5927-8977
Grazer control of benthic algal biomass: The role of food quality on different levels of spatial organization
This project is a DFG-funded collaboration with the Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) - Department of River Ecology at Magdeburg. Further details will be provided soon after the initiation of the project in early 2017.
PhD student: Alessandra Iannino
Picoeukaryote communities in an inland high-altitude aquatic system
This project is funded through a DAAD fellowship to PhD student: Stephanie Trench Fiol
from Chile and will deal with food webs in the high altitude Salar de Huasco in the Chilean Altiplano.
Diversity loss and trait dynamics in natural plankton communities
This project is part of the DFG-funded priority programme (DynaTrait) and will be conducted in close collaboration with the Department of Aquatic Ecology at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich. For more detailed information on the priority programme in general and our project in particular, please refer to the DynaTrait website .
PhD student: Maja Ilic
Effect or relevance of repellents for non-target organisms in surface waters
This project is funded by the German Federal Environment Agency, UBA).
Biological interactions in microbial mat communities in Salares of the Chilean Andes
This project aims to describe the food web structure and chemical ecology of microbial mats in high-altitude salars of the Chilean Altiplano. It has the specific scientific objectives to i) determine the trophic interactions between the microbial mats and associated invertebrate communities using both analysis of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes and fatty acid biomarkers, ii) determine chemically mediated interactions between microbial mats and associated invertebrate fauna, and iii) investigate possible effects of microbial secondary metabolites on invertebrate consumers.
(The project is a collaboration with the Unviersidad de Antofagasta, Chile and is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, BMBF).
Interactions between consumer and resource diversity
There has been a long debate whether producer diversity is controlled by the presence of consumers (top-down regulation) or by the availability of resources (bottom-up regulation). A yet overlooked steering factor might be the effects of the consumer species diversity on the species diversity of a prey community. Potentially complex interactions between consumers and other environmental factors on the prey community can be easily investigated using periphyton as resource community and freshwater benthic invertebrates as consumers.
(Collaboration with Dr. Maria Kahlert from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences)
PhD student: Sophie Groendahl
Volatile foraging kairomones in benthic snail-periphyton interactions
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can serve as important infochemicals in biofilms of benthic primary producers: VOCs released from both benthic, mat-forming, green algae and diatoms function as food-finding cues that attract benthic herbivores in both marine and freshwater ecosystems. This suggests that VOCs can play a steering role as infochemicals in benthic habitats, as has been established for many organismic interactions in terrestrial ecosystems. PhD student: Jana Moelzner
Impacts of algal food quality on Daphnia
In recent years it has been acknowledged that the food quality of freshwater microalgae for herbivorous zooplankton is not only determined by the algae's content of mineral nutrients such as phosphorus, but also by the algae's biochemical composition. In particular, the availability of particular highly unsaturated fatty acids seems to be an important determinant of algal food quality for Daphnia sp.
In the current project, I investigate the effects of different polyunsaturated fatty acids supplied with the algal diet to Daphnia sp. on the fitness of these zooplankton herbivores in laboratory experiments.
Adaptations of herbivores to stoichiometric food quality constraints
When faced with a low quality resource (e.g, a stoichiometrically imbalanced diet), consumers utilize different mechanisms to cope with a highly phosphorus- and/or nitrogen-depleted resource. In earlier work (see below), we found that freshwater gastropods increase the nutrient retention during gut passage, i.e., they excrete faecal pellets that are even more depleted in the limiting nutrient than the resource and the consumers' body tissue. Furthermore, the snails are increasing their biomass-specific consumption rates (on a diet low in essential compounds) in order to increase the uptake of the limiting nutrient(s). Currently, I investigate these and other mechanisms of herbivores to adapt to spatially and temporally fluctuating resource nutrient contents.
The ecological function of volatile aldehydes (oxylipins) in marine and freshwater benthic ecosystems
Volatile aldehydes (or oxylipins) released from damaged diatom cells have been shown to dramatically lower the hatching success of herbivorous copepods and therefore are considered to form an activated defence strategy of the diatoms versus herbivores. Alternatively, such substances might also serve as infochemicals, especially in biofilms of benthic algae and cyanobacteria. In this project, I investigate the interactions between oxylipins released by benthic diatoms and green algae and herbivorous gastropod grazers.
(Collaboration with Dr. Valerio Zupo from the Benthic Ecology Group at Stazione Zoologica die Napoli, Italy)
Ecology of the invasive mysid shrimp Limnomysis benedeni
As most other freshwater invasive species in Europe, the mysid Limnomysis benedeni originates in the ponto-caspian region. Recently, it has rapidly spread out through the large European river systems and adjacent lakes. Despite this rapid spread of L. benedeni in Europe during the last years, there is only very little knowledge about the potential consequences of the invasion of this species on the native ecosystems. Without knowledge on the behaviour and feeding strategies of L. benedeni, its impact on native species can not be estimated. Therefore, I investigate the feeding ecology of L. benedeni in the bayous of the Lower Rhine, where this species has recently invaded and since developed mass abundances.
Food quality and food choice in freshwater gastropods
As biofilm grazers, gastropods have considerable impact on the productivity and community structure of benthic ecosystems in many limnetic and marine systems. Compared to other littoral invertebrates, gastropods are relatively large grazers and therefore able to cause large predation pressure on the biofilm community even at low densities. In Lake Constance, snails (mostly the genera Radix and Bithynia) are very abundant and can therefore be considered as one of the key components of the littoral food web. The project addressed the following main questions:
I. Do food quality differences of photosynthetic primary producers known from planktivore grazers like Daphnia, exist also for freshwater gastropods?
II. What are the biochemical constraints of food quality for these organisms?
III. Are there food preferences in those freshwater snails?
Utilisation and cycling of essential fatty acids in an integrated marine aquaculture system
In an integrated aquaculture system, nutrient extracting species are cultivated alongside species which cause local nutrient enrichment, such as fish. Therefore, nutrients can be recycled within the system. During aquaculture of fish, both particulate and dissolved excreta have to be utilised. We investigate, how essential polyunsaturated fatty acids cycle through such an aquaculture system in which polychaete worms feed on seabream faeces.
Incucible defences in eucaryotic microalgae
The common green algal genus Scenedesmus shows an extremely high degree of phenotypic plasticity. In the presence of herbivorous zooplankton, these naturally unicellular microalgae form colonies that are too large to be ingested by small herbivores. Thus, this strategy can be considered as an effective inducible defense for these microalgae. However, the chemical structure of the kairomone, which is released by the zooplankton and induces the formation of colonies in the algae is not yet known. In this project, I purified this kairomone from water that had been incubated with herbivorous zooplankton and experimentally tested further ideas on the chemical identity and release of this infochemical.
Molecular taxonomy of freshwater microalgae
(Collaboration with Dr. Erik van Hannen, Netherlands Institute for Ecology, and Dr. Miquel Lürling, Wageningen Agricultural University, The Netherlands)
As mentioned above, the green algal genus Scenedesmus shows high phenotypic plasticity in response to environmental conditions. Unfortunately, taxonomic ordering of the Scenedesmaceae has so far been largely dependent only on morphological characteristics. As a consequence, many morphotypes of strains of Scenedesmus have been classified as independent species dependent on the morphology of the cells and colonies. This led to the description of a total of over 1300 species and subspecies in the genus Scenedesmus, of which probably only a fraction are valid species. In this project, I attempted to resolve the chaotic taxonomic situation in the Scenedemaceae with the aid of molecular methods. The ITS2 region of the ribosomal DNA of 34 strains of Scenedesmus was sequenced and the sequences were aligned based on a secondary structure model of the ITS2-RNA. This allowed for the distinction between several clusters and supported the current division of the former genus Scenedesmus into the genera Scenedesmus and Desmodesmus.
Contact me for reprints (replace "[at]" by "@").
peer-reviewed (DOIs link to publishers' sites)
Sophie Groendahl & Patrick Fink (2017) High dietary quality of non-toxic cyanobacteria for a benthic grazer and its implications for the control of cyanobacterial biofilms. BMC Ecology 17: 20.
Sophie Groendahl & Patrick Fink (2017) Consumer species richness and nutrients interact in determining producer diversity. Scientific Reports 7: Article 44869.
Sophie Groendahl, Maria Kahlert & Patrick Fink (2017) The best of both worlds: A combined approach for analyzing microalgal diversity via metabarcoding and morphology-based methods. PloS One 12 (2): e0172808.
Jochen P. Zubrod, Dominic Englert, Jakob Wolfram,Ricki R. Rosenfeldt, Alexander Feckler,Rebecca Bundschuh, Frank Seitz, Marco Konschak, Patrick Baudy, Simon Lüderwald, Patrick Fink, Andreas Lorke, Ralf Schulz, and Mirco Bundschuh (2017) Long-term effects of fungicides on leaf-associated microorganisms and shredder populations – an artificial stream study Environmental Science and Technology (in press).
Valerio Zupo, Mirko Mutalipassi, Patrick Fink and Marco Di Natale (2017) Effect of Ocean Acidification on the communications among Invertebrates Mediated by Plant-Produced Volatile Organic Compounds. Global Journal of Ecology 1 (1): 12-18.
doi: link to open access pdf.
Patrick Fink, Jana Moelzner, Ruediger Berghahn & Eric Von Elert (2017) Do insect repellents induce drift behaviour in aquatic non-target organisms? Water Research 108: 32-38.
Sophie Groendahl & Patrick Fink (2016) The effect of diet mixing on a nonselective herbivore. PloS One 11 (7): e0158924.
Mark Christjani, Patrick Fink & Eric Von Elert (2016) Phenotypic plasticity in three Daphnia genotypes in response to predator kairomone: evidence for an involvement of chitin deacetylases. Journal of Experimental Biology: (in press).
Eric Von Elert, Katja Preuss & Patrick Fink (2016) Infodisruption of inducible anti-predator defenses through commercial insect repellents? Environmental Pollution 210: 18-26.
Jana Moelzner & Patrick Fink (2015) Gastropod grazing on a benthic alga leads to liberation of food-finding infochemicals. Oikos 124 (12): 1603-1608.
Paulin Hardenbicker, Markus Weitere, Patrick Fink & Helmut Hillebrand (2015) Effects of temperature on the mutual interaction between phytoplankton communities and benthic filter feeders. Fundamental and Applied Limnology 187 (2): 87-100.
Mohamad Reza Ghomi, Eric Von Elert, Andreas Uhde & Patrick Fink (2015) Nutritional Responses of Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus) caught from Rhine River (Germany) as a Wild Species to Different Fish Oils. Animal Nutrition and Feed Technology 15 (3): 375-384.
Valerio Zupo, Chingoleima Maibam, Maria Cristina Buia, Maria Cristina Gambi, Francesco Paolo Patti, Maria Beatrice Scipione, Maurizio Laurenti & Patrick Fink (2015) Chemoreception of the seagrass Posidonia oceanica by benthic invertebrates is altered by seawater acidification. Journal of Chemical Ecology 41 (8): 766-779.
Jana Moelzner & Patrick Fink (2015) Consumer patchiness explained by volatile infochemicals in a freshwater ecosystem. Ecosphere 6 (3): Article 35.
Chingoleima Maibam, Patrick Fink, Giovanna Romano, Maria Cristina Buia, Emanuela Butera & Valerio Zupo, (2015) Centropages typicus (Crustacea, Copepoda) reacts to volatile compounds produced by planktonic algae. Marine Ecology 36 (6): 819-834.
Valerio Zupo, Chingoleima Maibam, Patrick Fink & Eric Von Elert (2015) Effect of storage on the fatty acid content of foods for post-larvae of the crustacean decapod Hippolyte inermis. Invertebrate Reproduction and Development 59 (2): 45-54.
Jana Moelzner & Patrick Fink (2014) The smell of good food: volatile infochemicals as resource quality indicators. Journal of Animal Ecology 83 (5): 1007-1014.
doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12220. Recommended by:
Chingoleima Maibam, Patrick Fink, Giovanna Romano, Maria Cristina Buia, Maria Cristina Gambi, Maria Beatrice Scipione, Francesco Paolo Patti, Maurizio Lorenti, Emanuela Butera & Valerio Zupo (2014) Relevance of wound-activated compounds produced by diatoms as toxins and infochemicals for benthic invertebrates. Marine Biology 161 (7): 1639-1652.
Mohammad Reza Ghomi, Eric von Elert, Jost Borcherding, Andreas Uhde & Patrick Fink (2014) Correlation between body size and fatty acid and essential amino acid composition of round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) and monkey goby (Neogobius fluviatilis), from Rhine River (Germany). Biologia 69 (6): 799-805.
Mohammad Reza Ghomi, Eric von Elert, Jost Borcherding & Patrick Fink (2014) Fatty acid composition and content of round goby (Neogobius melanostomus Pallas 1814) and monkey goby (Neogobius fluviatilis Pallas 1814), two invasive gobiid species in the lower Rhine River (Germany). Journal of Applied Ichthyology 30 (3): 527-531.
Patrick Fink & Chris Harrod (2013) Carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes reveal use of pelagic resources by the invasive Ponto-Caspian Mysid Limnomysis benedeni. Isotopes in Environmental and Health Studies 49 (3) 312-317.
Patrick Fink (2013) Invasion of quality: High amounts of essential fatty acids in the invasive Ponto-Caspian mysid Limnomysis benedeni. Journal of Plankton Research 35 (4): 907-913.
doi: doi: 10.1093/plankt/fbt029
Patrick Fink, Elke S. Reichwaldt, Chris Harrod & Axel Rossberg (2012) Determining trophic niche width: An experimental test of the stable isotope approach. Oikos 121 (12): 1985–1994.
Simon von Berlepsch, Hans-Henning Kunz, Susanne Brodesser, Patrick Fink, Kay Marin, Ulf-Ingo Flügge & Markus Gierth (2012) The acyl-acyl carrier protein synthetase from Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 mediates fatty acid import. Plant Physiology 159 (2): 606-617 .
Franja Pajk, Eric von Elert & Patrick Fink (2012) Interaction of changes in food quality and temperature reveals maternal effects on fitness parameters of a keystone aquatic herbivore. Limnology & Oceanography 57 (1): 281-292.
Patrick Fink, Anke Kottsieper, Martina Heynen & Jost Borcherding (2012) Selective zooplanktivory of an invasive Ponto-Caspian mysid and possible consequences for the zooplankton community structure of invaded habitats. Aquatic Sciences 74: 191-202.
Adrian A. Bischoff et al. (2012) Waste reduction in aquaculture by culturing detritivorous organisms: Small steps towards sustainable aquaculture practices. Südwestdeutscher Verlag für Hochschulschriften 172 pp. ISBN 3-8381-3274-2.
Order a copy at the publisher's website.
Peter Deines & Patrick Fink (2011) The potential of methanotrophic bacteria to compensate for food quantity or food quality limitations in Daphnia. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 65 (2) 197-206.
Patrick Fink, Claudia Pflitsch, & Kay Marin (2011) Dietary essential amino acids affect the reproduction of the keystone herbivore Daphnia pulex. PLoS ONE 6 (12): e28498.
Jonas Persson*, Patrick Fink*, Akira Goto*, James M. Hood*, Jayne Jonas* & Satoshi Kato* (2010) To be or not to be what you eat: Regulation of stoichiometric homeostasis among autotrophs and heterotrophs. Oikos 119 (5):741-751 (* all authors contributed equally).
Adrian A. Bischoff, Patrick Fink & Uwe Waller (2009) The fatty acid composition of Nereis diversicolor cultured in an integrated recirculated system: possible implications for aquaculture. Aquaculture 296: 271-276.
Patrick Fink (2008). Algal food quality affects growth of a benthic herbivore. Verhandlungen der Internationalen Vereinigung für theoretische und angewandte Limnologie (SIL) 30 (4): 531-533.
Patrick Fink (2007). Ecological functions of volatile organic compounds in aquatic systems. Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology 40 (3): 155-168.
(among the 20 most cited articles of Mar. Freshw. Behav. Physiol., see the journal's website!)
György Abrusan, Patrick Fink and Winfried Lampert (2007). Biochemical limitation of resting egg production in Daphnia. Limnology and Oceanography 52 (4) : 1724-1728.
Patrick Fink and Eric von Elert (2006). Physiological responses to stoichiometric constraints: nutrient limitation and compensatory feeding in a freshwater snail. Oikos 115 (3): 484-494.
Patrick Fink, Eric von Elert and Friedrich Jüttner (2006). Oxylipins from freshwater diatoms act as attractants for a benthic herbivore. Archiv für Hydrobiologie 167 (1-4): 561-574.
Patrick Fink, Eric von Elert and Friedrich Jüttner (2006). Volatile foraging kairomones in the littoral zone: attraction of an herbivorous freshwater gastropod to algal odors. Journal of Chemical Ecology 32 (9): 1867-1881.
Patrick Fink, Lars Peters and Eric von Elert (2006). Stoichiometric mismatch between littoral invertebrates and their periphyton food. Archiv für Hydrobiologie 165 (2): 145-165.
Patrick Fink and Eric von Elert (2006). Food quality of algae and cyanobacteria for the freshwater gastropod Bithynia tentaculata: the role of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Verhandlungen der internationalen Vereinigung für theoretische und angewandte Limnologie (SIL) 29 (3): 1235-1240.
Patrick Fink (2006) Food quality and food choice in freshwater gastropods: Field and laboratory investigations on a key component of littoral food webs. Logos Verlag, Berlin 133 pp. ISBN 3-8325-1203-9.
Order a copy at the publisher's website.
Erik J. Van Hannen, Patrick Fink and Miquel Lürling (2002). A revised secondary structure model for the internal transcribed spacer 2 of the green algae Scenedesmus and Desmodesmus and its implications for the phylogeny of these algae. European Journal of Phycology 37 (2): 203-208.
conference proceedings (in German)
Patrick Fink (2008). Schlechte Futterqualität und wie man damit umgehen kann: die Ernährungsökologie einer Süßwasserschnecke. Tagungsbericht, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Limnologie (DGL) - Jahrestagung 2007 (Münster): 2-6.
Patrick Fink und Eric Von Elert (2006). Das C:N:P-Verhältnis von Periphyton und seine ökologische Relevanz für herbivore Makroinvertebraten. Tagungsbericht, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Limnologie (DGL) - Jahrestagung 2005 (Karlsruhe): 308-311.
Patrick Fink und Eric Von Elert (2004). Freisetzung flüchtiger organischer Verbindungen aus benthischen Süßwasseralgen durch weidende Schnecken. Tagungsbericht, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Limnologie (DGL) - Jahrestagung 2003 (Köln): 569-573.
Patrick Fink und Eric Von Elert (2003). Chemosensorische Futterwahl limnischer Gastropoden. Tagungsbericht, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Limnologie (DGL) - Jahrestagung 2002 (Braunschweig): 329-333.
Patrick Fink und Eric Von Elert (2002). Daphnia-induzierte Coenobienbildung bei Scenedesmus obliquus - chemische Charakterisierung des Kairomons. Tagungsbericht, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Limnologie (DGL) - Jahrestagung 2001 (Kiel): 579-584.
Contact me for reprints (replace "[at]" by "@").