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Antarctic expedition completed

Polarstern returns to its homeport with precious cargo

The research vessel is expected to arrive in Bremerhaven this Thursday, with 57 metres of sediment cores and 750 kilogrammes of rock samples on board

[13. April 2017] 

The research vessel Polarstern is expected to enter its homeport with the early-morning high tide on Thursday, 20 April 2017, marking the end of a five-month season in the Antarctic for the icebreaker and her crew. Many geoscientists in Bremerhaven can’t wait to see the samples that were collected during a six-week foray into the Amundsen Sea this February and March.


Researchers unravel the drivers of large iceberg movement

Tabular icebergs can drift through the Southern Ocean for eight years or more, and predominantly melt at the bottom

Eisberg in der Nähe der Süd-Shetland Inseln
[07. April 2017] 

When, in the foreseeable future, a tabular iceberg nearly seven times the size of Berlin breaks off the Larsen C Ice Shelf in the Antarctic, it will begin a journey, the course of which climate researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research can accurately predict. The researchers have now succeeded in modelling how Antarctic icebergs drift through the Southern Ocean, and in identifying the physical factors behind their movement and their melting. Which factors are most important tends to depend on the size of the iceberg in question. Their findings were recently released on the online portal of the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans.

For the first time in five years

RV Polarstern opens its doors to the public

On 22 and 23 April, the Alfred Wegener Institute will host an “Open Ship” event in Bremerhaven

[03. April 2017] 

On the weekend of 22 and 23 April, Germany’s largest research vessel, the icebreaker Polarstern, will open her doors to the public as part of the Science Year 2016*17 – Seas and Oceans. As they walk about the ship, visitors can tour the laboratories, living accommodations, and the bridge, giving them a feel for what it’s like to be part of an expedition.

From Pole to Pole

Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected

The AWI Litterbase portal is the first to gather all published scientific data on marine litter

[23. March 2017] 

Where is marine litter concentrated, and which species and ecosystems does it affect? Researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute have for the first time compiled all scientific data published on marine litter in a single, comprehensive database, now accessible from the online portal AWI Litterbase (

The Arctic

When the sea ice melts, juvenile polar cod may go hungry

Biologists confirm how heavily the fish depend on ice algae

Ohne ihn würden Wal und Eisbär hungern: Der Polardorsch (Boreogadus saida) ist für 75 Prozent des Energieflusses im Nahrungsnetz des Arktischen Ozeans verantwortlich.
[15. March 2017] 

Polar cod fulfil a key role in the Arctic food web, as they are a major source of food for seals, whales and seabirds alike. But the polar cod themselves might soon be the hungry ones. Under the ice of the central Arctic, the juvenile fish are indirectly but heavily dependent on ice algae. As a result, retreating sea ice could have far-reaching impacts on the food web.