3. July 2015: Research Vessel Heincke: Serving Science for 25 years
A quarter of a century old, with over 900,000 kilometres (488,842 nautical miles) logged and still on the cutting edge of science and technology: 8 July 2015 will mark the Research Vessel Heincke’s 25th “birthday”. Staff from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), which operates the Heincke, take part in expeditions with the ship just as often as fellow researchers and students from Germany and abroad.
2. July 2015: The oceans can’t take any more: researchers fear a fundamental change in the oceans – even if greenhouse emissions are successfully reduced
Our oceans need an immediate and substantial reduction of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. If that doesn’t happen, we could see far-reaching and largely irreversible impacts on marine ecosystems, which would especially be felt in developing countries. That’s the conclusion of a new review study published today in the journal Science. In the study, the research team from the Ocean 2015 initiative assesses the latest findings on the risks that climate change poses for our oceans, and demonstrates how fundamentally marine ecosystems are likely to change if human beings continue to produce just as much greenhouse gases as before.
4. June 2015: Few opportunities to change: ocean warming and oxygen loss are putting marine life under more and more pressure
If you want to live, you need to breathe and muster enough energy to move, find nourishment and reproduce. This basic tenet is just as valid for us human beings as it is for the animals inhabiting our oceans. Unfortunately, most marine animals will find it harder to satisfy these criteria, which are vital to their survival, in the future. That was the key message of a new study recently published in the journal Science, in which American and German biologists defined the first universal principle on the combined effects of ocean warming and oxygen loss on the productivity of marine life forms. Their conclusion: as climate change progresses, these animals will be hard-pressed to satisfy their oxygen and energetic requirements in their changing native habitats. As a result, these species will migrate to cooler regions or deeper waters, ecosystems will be disrupted, and the diversity of species will decline.
2. June 2015: Spotlight on marine litter: A new book presents the current state of research
A new book gives an overview of the current state of research and of research gaps concerning litter in our oceans: “Marine Anthropogenic Litter” will be released by Springer-Verlag as an Open Access publication in June 2015. The editors brought together experts from around the globe to contribute to the book. Estimates of the amount of litter in the world’s oceans, its distribution, effects on humans and biota, and prevention strategies are just some of the complex topics addressed in the book’s 16 chapters.
19. May 2015: EU boost for polar science
A new initiative to enhance the integration of Europe’s scientific and operational capabilities in the Polar Regions has been funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme.
18. May 2015: Into the ice – RV Polarstern opens the arctic season by setting course for Spitsbergen
On Tuesday, 19 May 2015 the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its home port in Bremerhaven, setting a course for the Arctic. Led by Dr Ilka Peeken from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), a team of 53 researchers from 11 countries will investigate the effects of climate change in the Arctic, from the surface ice floes down to the seafloor.
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.