9. April 2015: Gradual but steady thaw: an international team of researchers gains new insights into arctic permafrost
Permafrost in the Arctic and in subarctic regions will most likely continually release substantial quantities of greenhouse gases over the coming decades: that’s the verdict of an international research team, which recently compiled and analysed the latest permafrost studies. As such, they have determined that the recurring thesis that there will be a sudden and widespread release of billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide and methane is highly unlikely.
11. March 2015: Blue blood on ice – How an Antarctic octopus survives the cold
An Antarctic octopus that lives in ice-cold water uses an unique strategy to transport oxygen in its blood, according to research published in Frontiers in Zoology. The study suggests that the octopus’s specialized blood pigments could help to make it more resilient to climate change than Antarctic fish and other species of octopus.
24. February 2015: A question of light: Ocean acidification slows algae growth in the Southern Ocean
In a recent study, scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), demonstrate for the first time that ocean acidification could have negative impacts on diatoms in the Southern Ocean. In laboratory tests they were able to observe that under changing light conditions, diatoms grow more slowly in acidic water. In so doing, Dr Clara Hoppe and her team have overturned the widely held assumption that sinking pH values would stimulate the growth of these unicellular algae.
9. February 2015: New engines for the Research Vessel Heincke – environmentally friendly exhaust-gas aftertreatment reduces emissions
The Research Vessel Heincke, one of the ships operated by the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), recently received three new main engines. With the addition of particle filters and downstream exhaust-gas filter systems, the ship is now both more economical and environmentally friendlier.
2. February 2015: Female sticklebacks prime their offspring to cope with climate change
Researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) have shown that three-spined sticklebacks in the North Sea pass on information concerning their living environment to their offspring, without genetic changes. This could play an important role in the species´ ability to adapt to the effects of climate change, as AWI experts report in a recently published study in the journal Functional Ecology. Interestingly, this information transfer appears to be primarily the mother’s responsibility; in this study, the father’s temperature experiences were much less significant.
2. February 2015: Dr Karsten Wurr assumes office as new Administrative Director of the AWI
The Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) welcomes its new Administrative Director. Today in Bremerhaven, Dr Karsten Wurr will officially succeed Dr Heike Wolke, who transferred to Berlin’s Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in March of last year.
26. January 2015: Prof Karen Wiltshire to become the new Chair of the international oceanographic research organisation POGO
On next Tuesday, 27 January 2015, Prof Karen Wiltshire will assume the office of Chair for the oceanographic research organisation POGO. During her upcoming one-year term of office the Vice-Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), plans to promote the formation of partnerships between research ships in the Atlantic, and to improve the networking of researchers who use long-term data. Further, she hopes to encourage scientists to take on a more proactive role in the establishment of marine protected areas.
26. January 2015: Winters in Siberian permafrost regions have warmed since millennia
For the first time, researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) have successfully employed a geochemical method used in glacier research to decode climate data from millennia-old permafrost ground ice and reconstruct the development of winter temperatures in Russia’s Lena River Delta. Their conclusions: Over the past 7,000 years, winter temperatures in the Siberian permafrost regions have gradually risen. The researchers claim that this is due to the changing position of the Earth relative to the sun and is amplified by the rising greenhouse-gas emissions since the dawn of industrialisation. The study will be published as the cover story of the upcoming February issue of the scientific journal Nature Geoscience.
17. January 2015: The Antarctic: Ten Years of the “Library in the Ice” Celebrating the anniversary of an art project that offers one of the most extraordinary collections of books in the world
Germany’s southernmost library can be found at 70°40´S, 08°16´W and has endured in one of our planet’s most inhospitable regions for ten years now. In the 2004/2005 summer in the southern hemisphere, the Cologne-based artist Lutz Fritsch erected the “Library in the Ice” on the Antarctic Ekström Ice Shelf – to create a space for interaction between science and culture in the far reaches of the “white continent”. Ever since, the library container and its collection of books have been fixtures at the Neumayer Station, a research station operated by the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI).
6. January 2015: Research icebreaker Polarstern returns from the Antarctic prematurely
The German research icebreaker Polarstern will end its current expedition to the Antarctic earlier than planned. Due to hydraulic problems in the port engine, the ship will return to Bremerhaven for repairs in mid-March.