New short film online about the nitrogen cycle and potential tipping points in the Humboldt Current


The Humboldt Upwelling System is one of the most productive ecosystems in the world with unrivaled fishery yields. Its richness in nutrients such as nitrogen fuels phytoplankton production at the coast of Peru. new movie onlineNitrogen is an essential nutrient for building the base of the food web. In the Humboldt Upwelling System, winds bring cold, nutrient-rich water to the surface which can be used by phytoplankton in sunlit surface waters for growth and reproduction.

Some microbes, called nitrogen fixers, can access nitrogen gas dissolved in seawater and convert it into a form that other phytoplankton can use. This may return some of the lost nitrogen to the Humboldt Upwelling System and potentially keep the nitrogen cycle in balance.

Scientists from Germany and Peru are working together to understand why the nitrogen deficit is not replenished by nitrogen fixation. These results will be used to predict the effects of climate change on the nitrogen cycle and its possible consequences for the productivity of the Humboldt Upwelling System in the future.

Find the movie on the project-youtube channel in a Spanish, English and German version:

For further information please contact:

Dr. Frederike Tirre

Center for Ocean and Society

Christian-Albrechts-Universit├Ąt zu Kiel
Neufeldtstra├če 10
24118 Kiel

The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Germany) and is part of the Bio-Tip call of the FONA- Research for sustainable Development program.

More infos here:


Dr. Frederike Tirre
Neufeldtstrasse 10
24118 Kiel