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Press release

Scientist from the Alfred Wegener Institute becomes new Executive Secretary of the international Antarctic Treaty Secretariat

[17. April 2009] 

A scientist from the Alfred Wegener Institute will become the new Executive Secretary of the Antarctic Treaty system from August 2009. This was announced at the end of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) in Baltimore, USA. The majority of the 28 members entitled to vote for the new Executive Secretary of the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat decided on the German candidate Dr. Manfred Reinke who prevailed over competitors from Great Britain and Australia. The secretariat is seated in the Argentinean capital Buenos Aires.

Press release

Rising permafrost temperatures raise emission of the climate gas methane

[30. March 2009] 

Bremerhaven, March 30th 2009. Higher temperatures in Arctic permafrost soils alter the community of methane generating microorganisms and lead to an increased emission of methane. Microbiologists from the Alfred Wegener Institute come to this conclusion in the current issue of the periodical “Environmental Microbiology”. The researchers were able to examine permafrost from the ground of the Leptev Sea, a shallow shelf sea close to the coast of Siberia, for the first time.

Press release

Research plane Polar 5 on Arctic campaign

[26. March 2009] 

The research aircraft Polar 5 belongs to the Alfred Wegener Institute. It will start on Monday March 30th at 10 o’clock from the regional airport Bremerhaven on an Arctic measurement campaign which will last about four weeks. Measurements of sea ice thickness and atmospheric variables in an area between Spitsbergen, Greenland, northern Canada and Alaska are at the centre of the project PAM-ARCMIP (Pan-Arctic Measurements and Arctic Climate Model Inter comparison Project).

Press release

Lohafex provides new insights on plankton ecology - Only small amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide fixed

[23. March 2009] 

The Indo-German team of scientists from the National Institute of Oceaonography and the Alfred Wegener Institute has returned from its expedition on research vessel Polarstern. The cooperative project Lohafex has yielded new insights on how ocean ecosystems function. But it has dampened hopes on the potential of the Southern Ocean to sequester significant amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and thus mitigate global warming.

Press release

Cause of mussel poisoning identified

[19. March 2009] 

The origin of the neurotoxin azaspiracid has finally been identified after a search for more than a decade. The azaspiracid toxin group can cause severe poisoning in human consumers of mussels after being enriched in the shellfish tissues. The scientific periodical European Journal of Phycology reports in its current issue (Vol. 44/1: p. 63-79) that a tiny algal species, the dinoflagellate Azadinium spinosum, is responsible. Researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association have isolated and described the hitherto unknown organism as a new genus and species of dinoflagellate. They successfully isolated the organism and multiplied it in pure laboratory cultures, subsequently identifying it as the producer of...