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.
Pictures of an Expedition - RV Polarstern in wintery Antarctic
18 June 2013: Polarstern reached the sea ice edge. Freshly forming sea ice looks like pancakes and is therefore called pancake ice. The photo is showing pancake ice in the evening: a wonderful addition to the pancakes being offered by the stewardesses for breakfast every morning.
12. June 2013: The genetic diversity makes the difference: researchers unravel reasons of global success in the calcified alga Emiliania huxleyi
In collaboration with an international team of researchers, scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, have sequenced the genome of the calcified alga Emiliania huxleyi and have found an explanation for the enormous adaptive potential and global distribution of this unicellular alga. As the researchers report in an online prepublication of the scientific journal Nature, the microalga’s “trick” is genetic diversity. It has a particularly large so-called pan-genome which means that the unicellular algae share a certain set of common genetic information present in all strains. The remaining gene pool varies and depends on the geographic location and the respective living conditions of the algae. The calcified E. huxleyi is the first alga in which scientists have been able to detect this special characteristic.
6. June 2013: Polarstern expedition team departs for the wintery Antarctic – focus on sea ice and living organisms of the Southern Ocean
A group of researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research is flying to South Africa today. However this trip south is no summer holiday, but rather the start of a special journey: on Saturday, 8 June 2013 the research vessel Polarstern will be embarking on an expedition to the Antarctic winter. 49 researchers from institutes in twelve countries together with 44 crew members will spend a good two months in the Southern Ocean. They will be exploring the sea ice, the atmosphere and the ocean, until the expedition comes to an end on 12 August in Punta Arenas, Chile.
26. April 2013: Seal of quality on the anniversary: scientists celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Franco-German Arctic station on Spitsbergen and its inclusion in a new climate data network
There are two reasons for celebration today at the Franco-German Arctic research station AWIPEV on Spitsbergen: firstly, the scientific community at the world’s northernmost research location marks the 10th year of cooperation between the German Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) and the French Institut Polaire Paul Emile Victor (IPEV). Secondly, the station is today the first meteorological facility in the world to be awarded with the seal of quality of GRUAN, the climate data network, the objective of which is to measure elevation profiles of climate parameters such as temperature, air pressure and air humidity according to uniform worldwide quality standards so as to globally compare observations.
23. April 2013: Putin’s promised new building now in operation: AWI permafrost researchers start work in the new research station in the Russian Lena Delta
Permafrost experts of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research are currently conducting a multi-week spring expedition to the Lena Delta where they are investigating the interaction between the atmosphere, snow cover and the frozen earth of the tundra. That they are able to live and conduct their research at less than spring temperatures of up to minus 30 degrees Celsius is attributable to the new Russian research station “Samoylov”. The impressive building was erected at the initiative of the Russian head of state Vladimir Putin and for one week has replaced the old German-Russian station from 1998 where scientists were only able to work in the short Siberian summer.