Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering

Astrid Boehmer

Contact details

Room: 6E 3.6
Tel: +44 (0)1225 388388

Astrid Boehmer

I am a postgraduate researcher in the Water, Environment and Infrastructure Research (WEIR) group within the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering.

My major area of research is the ecological and physiological investigation of marine organisms and their response to actual and potential environmental (climatic) scenarios. The latter builds the basis for target-orientated and fundamental protection management.

In 2013 I conducted my Master thesis at the Alfred-Wegener-Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar- and Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven, Germany and investigated the cold-water coral Desmopyllum dianthus and its response to future carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations. During a long-term experiment I studied coral weight, respiration and behavior as a response to different CO2 levels.

In the frame of my postgraduate studies, I participated in a study abroad (February 2011 – June 2011) at the James Cook University in Townsville, Australia, where I became familiar with the Australian coastal and reef system and how it is preserved and protected.

A significant factor in my research interests in marine ecology and water quality was the opportunity to participate in Antarctic research expeditions on board of the RV Polarstern ice-breaker (ANTXXI/3, January - March 2013; ANTXXIX/9, December 2013 - March 2014; ANTXXIX/10, March 2014 - April 2014), where I investigated the distribution of macrobenthic species inhabiting the Eastern and Western Antarctic Peninsula.

In summary, building on my interest in marine ecology, I am particularly interested in (1) assessing how aquatic organisms respond to variations in physicochemical conditions (e.g., oxygen (O2), temperature and CO2), and in (2) field-based assessments of how biogeochemical cycling and mixing influence aquatic ecosystems.


Oxygen (O2), Carbon dioxide (CO2), metals and temperature are key environmental parameter that govern water quality and biogeochemical processes and define important habitat thresholds for aquatic life. The activity and biological turnover of benthic organisms are strongly influenced by variations in these parameters. In turn, benthic organisms have significant, but currently unquantified, influence on aquatic O2 and metal cycling via bioturbation (i.e., movement of biota in sediment) and respiration (i.e., biological O2 uptake ) and thus play a highly complex and sensitive role in biogeochemical cycling. In this study, I will investigate the effects of bioturbation on benthic (biological) turnover and corresponding O2 and metal transport fluxes under varying O2, CO2 and temperature conditions within marine and limnic habitats. This project will combine a novel suite of state-of-the-art instruments to 1) characterise benthos communities and sediment porewater and water column geochemical data and 2) unify established work on benthic-water-column interactions.