Contact Communications + Media Relations
Subscribe for press releases as RSS


New Helmholtz Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity

Alfred Wegener Institute and University of Oldenburg to intensify cooperation in marine biology

[13. October 2016] 

Marine ecosystems provide us with food and raw materials, they have an impact on air quality and global climate, they break down harmful substances and serve as places of recreation and tourism. The functioning of these ecosystems – and thus also the basis for human well-being – depends on the biological diversity of the oceans. The way climate change and human influences change marine biodiversity will in future be examined by scientists in a new institute.

Sea level rise

Greenland loses more ice than assumed

New GPS measurements in Science Advances study show that ice loss needs to be revised upwards

[22. September 2016] 

The mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet is bigger than previously estimated. This is the result of a study by international scientists to be published in Science Advances. The work shows that up to now the so-called glacial isostatic adjustment, i.e., the uplift of the bedrock, was not correctly taken into account when measuring the glaciers’ mass balance with data from GRACE satellite observations.

Climate change

Tropical coral reefs lose two thirds of their zooplankton through ocean acidification

Dramatic decline has serious consequences for coral reefs

Ein gesundes tropische Korallenriff mit normalem pH-Wert des Wassers. Milne Bay Provinz, Papua Neuguinea. Hier wachsen viele Geweihkorallen, die mit ihren Ästen ausreichend Versteckmöglichkeiten für Kleinkrebse bieten.
[19. September 2016] 

Tropical coral reefs lose up to two thirds of their zooplankton through ocean acidification. This is the conclusion reached by a German-Australian research team that examined two reefs with so-called carbon dioxide seeps off the coast of Papua New Guinea. At these locations volcanic carbon dioxide escapes from the seabed, lowering the water's acidity to a level, which scientists predict for the future of the oceans. The researchers believe that the decline in zooplankton is due to the loss of suitable hiding places. It results from the changes in the coral reef community due to increasing acidification. Instead of densely branched branching corals, robust mounding species of hard coral grow, offering the zooplankton little shelter. In a study published today at the…

Arctic Ocean

Open waters around the North Pole: Arctic sea ice in retreat

Arctic sea-ice cover melts down to an area of 4.14 million sq. km., statistically tied at second lowest in the satellite record with the 2007 minimum

Meereisdickenmessungen mit dem AWI-Forschungsflugzeug Polar 6 nördlich Grönlands, August 2016. Von Bord des Flugzeuges aus bedienen die Meereisphysiker eine Winde, welche das torpedoförmige Messgerät in die Tiefe hinabsinken lässt.
[13. September 2016] 

This September, the Arctic sea ice extent has shrunk to 4.1 million square kilometres (sq km)-the second lowest in the history of satellite measurements. It is exceeded only by the all-time record low of 3.4 million sq km in 2012. "Once again, a massive loss of sea ice in the Arctic," says Prof. Lars Kaleschke from Universität Hamburg's Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN). His colleague Prof. Christian Haas from the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) confirms: "The trend continues." Currently, the Northeast and Northwest Passages are navigable at the same time.

Marine Microplastics

Pathogenic bacteria hitchhiking to North and Baltic Seas?

For the first time, AWI scientists have found evidence of living, potentially pathogenic vibrions on microplastic particles

[21. July 2016] 

With increasing water temperatures comes an increasing likelihood of potentially pathogenic bacteria appearing in the North and Baltic Seas. AWI scientists have now proven that a group of such bacteria known as vibrios can survive on microplastic particles. In the future, they want to investigate in greater detail the role of these particles on the accumulation and possible distribution of these bacteria.