The Alfred Wegener Institute carries out research in the Arctic and Antarctic as well as in the high and mid latitude oceans. The institute coordinates German polar research and makes available to national and international science important infrastructure, e.g. the research icebreaker “Polarstern” and research stations in the Arctic and Antarctic.


Press Releases

16. July 2014: Surprising climate balance: In the long term lakes in permafrost areas have sequestered more greenhouse gas from the atmosphere than they released during their formation

Since the last glacial period so-called thermokarst lakes in Arctic permafrost areas have sequestered more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than they ever previously emitted during their formation. An international team of scientists presents this surprising research result today in an online publication by the journal Nature. The researchers had examined up to 10,000-year-old soil deposits from northern Siberian lakes and calculated for the first time the total carbon balance for several hundred thousand bodies of water.

Go to Press Release: Surprising climate balance


26. June 2014: The simpler, the more heat-resistant – scientists uncover the key to adaptation limits of ocean dwellers

The simpler a marine organism is structured, the better it is suited for survival during climate change. Scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, discovered this in a new meta-study, which appears today in the research journal Global Change Biology. For the first time biologists studied the relationship between the complexity of life forms and the ultimate limits of their adaptation to a warmer climate. While unicellular bacteria and archaea are able to live even in hot, oxygen-deficient water, marine creatures with a more complex structure, such as animals and plants, reach their growth limits at a water temperature of 41 degrees Celsius. This temperature threshold seems to be insurmountable for their highly developed metabolic systems.

Go To Press Release: The simpler, the more heat-resistant


23. June 2014: Opening of Exhibition on 26 June: Oceans - Expedition to Uncharted Depths

Gentoo penguins glide over the water almost like dancers. Just beneath them filigree jellyfish float through rays of light and manta rays glide past majestically. The viperfish appears eerily and with enormous fangs in the depths. Nature photographer Solvin Zankl from Kiel (Germany) has photographed them all. For years he has been travelling around the world, taking a closer look at islands, coasts and the open sea to document the dwellers of the oceans in all their splendour.

Go to Press Release: Opening of Exhibition on 26 June


19. June 2014: New discoveries on seafloor – AWI scientists name previously unknown underwater mountains after Nelson Mandela and a figure out of the novel “The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear”

As of today, the names of two previously unknown underwater mountains will appear on the nautical charts of the South Atlantic and the Weddell Sea: “Madiba Seamount” and “Nachtigaller Shoal”. In selecting the names at its conference in Monaco this year, the Sub-Committee on Undersea Feature Names (SCUFN) followed the proposals of two scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research. They had discovered the mountains on Polarstern expeditions to Antarctica last year. The designation signifies official exploration of a further section of the seafloor.

Go to Press Release: New discoveries on seafloor


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