8. June 2012: North-East Passage soon free from ice again? Winter measurements show thin sea ice in the Laptev Sea, pointing to early and large scale summer melt
The North-East Passage, the sea route along the North coast of Rus-sia, is expected to be free of ice early again this summer. The forecast was made by sea ice physi-cists of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Associa-tion based on a series of measurement flights over the Laptev Sea, a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean. Amongs experts the shelf sea is known as an “ice factory” of Arctic sea ice. At the end of last winter the researchers discovered large areas of thin ice not being thick enough to withstand the summer melt.
9. May 2012: Climate scientists discover new weak point of the Antarctic ice sheet
The Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf fringing the Weddell Sea, Antarctica, may start to melt rapidly in this century and no longer act as a barrier for ice streams draining the Antarctic Ice Sheet. These predictions are made by climate researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association in the coming issue of the British science magazine “Nature“. They refute the widespread assumption that ice shelves in the Weddell Sea would not be affected by the direct influences of global warming due to the peripheral location of the Sea.
8. May 2012: Open for viewing again for the first time since 2008 – “Open Ship“ on the research icebreaker Polarstern on 3 June 2012
The research icebreaker Polarstern will be returning from the Antarctic to Bremerhaven on 16 May. The world known research ship will be prepared in the docks for the coming summer expedition to the North Polar Sea. Following a stop in the homeport of Bremerhaven, Polarstern will celebrate its 30th birthday in the expanse of the Antarctic Ocean.
4. May 2012: Nutrient supply after algal bloom determines the succession of the bacterial population
In the coastal zone of temperate regions spring algal blooms occur regularly as a consequence of the more intense solar irradiation in spring. When algal blooms end the algae die and their remnants constitute an important nutrient supply for the whole ecosystem. But what exactly happens if an algal bloom ends? A study in this week's "science"-journal gives new insights into the succession of bacterioplankton communities and their functioning.
17. April 2012: Alfred Wegener Institute, PlanktonTech and imare for the first time with their own stand at Hannover Messe, the world’s most important technology event
A five times six metre pavilion along with models of a 3.6 metre high offshore wind turbine and lightweight sailing boat are the visual attractions at the stand of the Bremerhaven researchers at this year’s Hanover Fair in Hall 6. From 23 to 27 April 2012 the plankton biomechanics and bionics working group of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association, the virtual Helmholtz PlanktonTech Institute and the Institute for Marine Resources (imare) will be presenting themselves with their own stand for the first time.
16. April 2012: The sea as a rubbish tip: biologists prepare guidelines for a more precise investigation into marine pollution from microplastic particles
Large quantities of globally produced plastics end up in the oceans where they represent a growing risk. Above all very small objects, so-called microplastic particles, are endangering the lives of the many sea creatures. An estimate of how greatly the oceans are polluted with microplastic particles has so far failed in the absence of globally comparable methods of investigation and data. Together with British and Chilean colleagues, scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association have now analysed all published studies on this topic and have proposed standardised guidelines for the recording and characterisation of microplastic particles in the sea.
29. March 2012: CO2 was hidden in the ocean during the Ice Age
Why did the atmosphere contain so little carbon dioxide (CO2) during the last Ice Age 20,000 years ago? Why did it rise when the Earth’s climate became warmer? Processes in the ocean are responsible for this, says a new study based on newly developed isotope measurements.
26. March 2012: Searching for exotics in the shrimp nets: shrimp fishermen help biologist to monitor rare fish species
So far the shrimp fisherman Uwe Abken has had little interest in the bycatch in his nets. But recently the fisherman from the East Friesian town of Neuharlingersiel has been taking a closer look. The fisherman and his deck hand have been recording which North Sea exotics and rare migratory fish get caught in their shrimp nets for the biologist Kai Wätjen from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association. This is a project with model character because fishermen, scientists and the environment benefit from the results.
20. March 2012: Antifreeze proteins from a polar diatom to protect frozen bread rolls from freezer burn
The polar diatom Fragilariopsis cylindrus thrives where many other forms of life would succumb – namely in the sea ice of the Arctic and Antarctic. Its survival is guaranteed by an antifreeze protein, which the alga releases into its environment. Biologists from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association have now succeeded in decoding the genetic plan of this natural antifreeze agent and in bioengineering the protein. In a joint project with food researchers from ttz Bremerhaven, investigations will now be conducted to determine whether the algal antifreeze can also protect frozen bread rolls from the destructive force of ice crystals.
8. February 2012: Ocean warming causes elephant seals to dive deeper
Global warming is having an effect on the dive behaviour and search for food of southern elephant seals. Researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association cooperating in a joint study with biologists and oceanographers from the Universities of Pretoria and Cape Town have discovered that the seals dive deeper for food when in warmer water. The scientists attribute this behaviour to the migration of prey to greater depths and now wish to check this theory using a new sensor which registers the feeding of the animals below water.