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Press release

Award-winning – deep sea researchers receive the Humboldt Memorial Award for investigations into the biodiversity of the deep Arctic Ocean

[20. February 2013] 

Dr. Bodil Bluhm from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and deep sea researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, received the 2012 Alexander von Humboldt Memorial Award, Thursday, 21 February 2013, in Frankfurt am Main. The group of researchers investigated the biodiversity in the Artic deep sea and extended the list of known deep sea dwellers by over 400 new species. The Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung (Senckenberg Nature Research Society) honours the scientists because with this work they have laid an important foundation stone for future research projects in the Arctic.

Press release

New satellite shows precise extent of the Arctic sea ice loss

[15. February 2013] 

Current measurements of the ESA ice thickness satellite CryoSat-2 have shown that the total mass of the Arctic sea ice was 36 per cent smaller last autumn than during the same period in the years 2003 to 2008. Five years ago the autumn ice volumes averaged 11900 km3. But in the second quarter of 2012 they had declined to 7600 km3. This conclusion is reached by an international research team after comparing the CryoSat data of the past two years with measurements of a former NASA satellite and with the results of sea ice investigations of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research. The study is published in the online issue of the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters and for the first time shows how precisely scientists can...

Press release

Study published in Science: Rapid changes in the Arctic ecosystem from surface to depth during the ice minimum in the summer of 2012

[14. February 2013] 

Huge quantities of algae are growing on the underside of sea ice in the Central Arctic: in 2012 the ice algae Melosira arctica was responsible for almost half the primary production in this area. When the ice melts, as was the case during the ice minimum in 2012, these algae sink rapidly to the bottom of the sea at a depth of several thousands of metres. Deep-sea animals such as sea cucumbers and brittle stars feed on the algae, and bacteria metabolise what’s left, consuming the oxygen in the sea bed. This short-term reaction of the deep-sea ecosystem to changes in sea ice cover and ocean productivity has now been published in the scientific journal Science by a multidisciplinary team of researchers

Press release

Two top teams join forces: German deep-sea researchers and space travel technologists jointly develop robot systems for the exploration of extreme regions

[25. January 2013] 

The start of the first two-day scientific workshop at the MARUM-Center for Marine Environmental Sciences in Bremen next Monday heralds the beginning of the operative phase of the new Helmholtz research alliance “Robotic Exploration under Extreme Conditions” or ROBEX for short. In this project - unique for Germany - space travel specialists and deep-sea researchers from 15 research institutions will be jointly developing technologies for robot systems capable of conducting independent missions on the moon and in the deep sea.

Press release

New ice core study: Greenland‘s ice sheet shrank only minimally during the Eemian interglacial

[23. January 2013] 

An international team of researchers has succeeded for the first time in completely reconstructing the layer of the Greenland ice sheet from the Eemian interglacial (130 000 to 115 000 years ago). Using this ice data, the scientists can now say how warm it became in Greenland at that time and how the ice responded to climate changes.