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Focus on: Topics 2012


Helgoland Roads - 50 Years of Long-term Research

How do things look for the cod in the North Sea? Can algae pass through the stomach of copepods into their faecal pellets alive? Will Jamaican crabs survive if the worldwide temperature of the ocean continues to rise? And how rapidly is the temperature rising in the first place? All these investigations have one thing in common: they use the Helgoland Roads long-term data series. Temperature, salinity and nutrient concentration as well as secchi depth are measured every working day. And the tiny creatures from the seawater between Helgoland’s main island and “Düne” are caught, classified and counted. You will find out how exactly this is done and why it is important in this Focus.


30 years of POLARSTERN – A success story

On 3 June 2012 the research vessel POLARSTERN opens its hatches and doors for visitors in its home port of Bremerhaven. This “open ship day” and the 30th anniversary of the launch of the research icebreaker in December 2012 are reason enough to take a closer look at the vessel here. Be sure to drop by regularly for we will continuously expand the list of articles in the course of the year.


Interview on the climate debate: Criticism ignores the facts

Has global warming taken a break? This is the question asked in the new book by the two authors Fritz Vahrenholt and Sebastian Lüning which is causing quite a stir in the public debate on climate change. Prof. Dr. Peter Lemke, Head of Climate Sciences Research Division at the Alfred Wegener Institute and co-author of the IPCC report, and Prof. Dr. Meinhard Schulz-Baldes, Coordinator of the ‘Climate City Bremerhaven’, comment in the interview on the assertions of the climate sceptics and explain why for them the global climate report is the most credible scientific publication in the world. Please read the interview here.


Time travel into the future – the cold-water coral reefs of Comau Fjord, Chile

Comau Fjord on Chile’s northwest coast is a unique research area in two respects. Firstly, the deep-sea coral Desmophyllum dianthus grows here in shallow water. Secondly, in its mid and deep water layers the fjord already has the high acidification values forecast for the oceans in the course of climate change. Scientists thus have the unique opportunity of plunging into a journey into the future. The biologists of the Alfred Wegener Institute regularly take advantage of this opportunity, using the Huinay research station of their cooperation partners Verena Häussermann and Günter Försterra. You will learn on our background pages what the working group headed by Prof. Claudio Richter has found out, what objectives it pursues and what methods the scientists want to use to investigate the coral world of Comau Fjord.


Alfred Wegener and the 100th anniversary of his theory of continental drift

On 6 January 1912 a spectacle of one man against the world took place at the annual meeting of the Geological Association in Frankfurt am Main. That was the day 31-year-old meteorologist Alfred Wegener gave his talk on the formation of the oceans and continents and in the process shook the foundations of accepted doctrine. On the following pages you will find out, among other things, how Alfred Wegener arrived at his theory back then and what young geologists today can learn from him.

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