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Press release

The simpler, the more heat-resistant – scientists uncover the key to adaptation limits of ocean dwellers

[26. June 2014] 

The simpler a marine organism is structured, the better it is suited for survival during climate change. Scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, discovered this in a new meta-study, which appears today in the research journal Global Change Biology. For the first time biologists studied the relationship between the complexity of life forms and the ultimate limits of their adaptation to a warmer climate. While unicellular bacteria and archaea are able to live even in hot, oxygen-deficient water, marine creatures with a more complex structure, such as animals and plants, reach their growth limits at a water temperature of 41 degrees Celsius. This temperature threshold seems to be insurmountable for their highly developed…

Press release

Opening of Exhibition on 26 June: Oceans - Expedition to Uncharted Depths

[23. June 2014] 

Gentoo penguins glide over the water almost like dancers. Just beneath them filigree jellyfish float through rays of light and manta rays glide past majestically. The viperfish appears eerily and with enormous fangs in the depths. Nature photographer Solvin Zankl from Kiel (Germany) has photographed them all. For years he has been travelling around the world, taking a closer look at islands, coasts and the open sea to document the dwellers of the oceans in all their splendour.

Press release

New discoveries on seafloor – AWI scientists name previously unknown underwater mountains after Nelson Mandela and a figure out of the novel “The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear”

[19. June 2014] 

As of today, the names of two previously unknown underwater mountains will appear on the nautical charts of the South Atlantic and the Weddell Sea: “Madiba Seamount” and “Nachtigaller Shoal”. In selecting the names at its conference in Monaco this year, the Sub-Committee on Undersea Feature Names (SCUFN) followed the proposals of two scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research. They had discovered the mountains on Polarstern expeditions to Antarctica last year. The designation signifies official exploration of a further section of the seafloor.

Press release

Research Vessel Polarstern setting out for the Arctic - Focusing on changes in the ice cover, ocean currents and effects on the marine biota

[05. June 2014] 

On Friday evening, June 6, 2014, RV Polarstern will set sail for the Arctic Ocean. 52 scientific expedition participants, dispatched by institutions in five countries, and a crew of 43 are going to start for the four-weeks expedition. The destination is the Fram Strait, in the waters between Greenland and Spitsbergen. This strait forms the only deep gateway between the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic. The researchers will be examining longer-term physical, oceanographic, chemical and biological changes, reaching from the atmosphere to the depths of the ocean.

Press release

New study shows that unstable Antarctic Ice Sheet led to rapid sea-level rise in the past

[28. May 2014] 

At the end of the last glacial period, the Antarctic Ice Sheet lost a large amount of ice within a very short timespan. This led to a rapid global sea level rise of several metres. An international research team came to this conclusion in a study published in the latest edition of the scientific journal Nature. The joint project of geologists and climate scientists has shown that an unstable Antarctic ice sheet could precipitously change the climate of the Southern Hemisphere. At the same time it provides important evidence of how current climate change may affect the ice masses over the South Pole.