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Press release

Surprising underwater-sounds: Humpback whales also spend their winter in Antarctica

[07. September 2013] 

Biologists and physicists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, found out that not all of the Southern Hemisphere humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) migrate towards the equator at the end of the Antarctic summer. Part of the population remains in Antarctic waters throughout the entire winter. The scientists report this in a current issue of scientific journal PLOS ONE. This surprising discovery based on underwater recordings from the Antarctic acoustic observatory PALAOA. It is located near the research base Neumayer Station III on the ice shelf and regularly records underwater sounds of humpback whales even in the austral winter months.


Press release

Scientists analyse the extent of ocean acidification

[25. August 2013] 

Ocean acidification could change the ecosystems of our seas even by the end of this century. Biologists at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), have therefore assessed the extent of this ominous change for the first time. In a new study they compiled and analysed all available data on the reaction of marine animals to ocean acidification. The scientists found that whilst the majority of animal species investigated are affected by ocean acidification, the respective impacts are very specific. The AWI-researchers present their results as an Advance Online Publication on Sunday 25 August 2013 in Nature Climate Change.


Press release

Tests passed: New AWI thermal imaging system helps researchers to protect large whales from noise around the clock

[12. August 2013] 

Physicists at the Alfred Wegener Institute, the Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, successfully tested a thermal imaging system aboard the research vessel Polarstern. The system automatically detects large whales by their spouts, day or night from distances up to five kilometres. As the scientists report in a recent study published in the journal PLOS ONE, the system detected significantly more whales than researchers using binoculars to spot the animals. The thermal imaging camera and accompanying analysis software is an effective tool for protecting these rare marine mammals from intense underwater noise.


Press release

Commissioning of the new research ship MYA II – Handing over to scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institute on Sylt

[12. August 2013] 

21 metres long, 1.30 metre draught, a maximum speed of ten knots and full of the most up-to-date technology: on 13 August 2013 the research ship MYA II will be handed over to science at a ceremony in List on Sylt. Prof. Dr. Waltraud Wende, the Schleswig-Holstein Minister for Education and Research, is going to be present at the event, as well as representatives of the Federal Ministry for Education and Research. Ten percent of the 4.5 million euro development and construction costs for the MYA II were met by the State of Schleswig-Holstein, and 90 percent from federal funds.


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