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Deep-sea research

Manganese nodules as breeding ground for deep-sea octopuses

Biologists discover a new octopus species at more than 4000 metres depth that guard their eggs, likely for years prior to hatching, and a community which may not survive without hard substrate such as manganese nodules

Der Tiefseekrake "Casper", entdeckt an der Necker Ridge, Hawaii, in 4290 Metern Tiefe. Sein Mantel ist etwa 6,4 Zentimeter lang. Diese Aufnahme entstand mit dem US-amerikanischen Tauchroboter Deep Discovery.
[19. December 2016] 

Manganese nodules on the seabed of the Pacific Ocean are an important breeding ground for deep-sea octopuses. As reported by a German-American team of biologists in the current issue of the journal Current Biology, the octopuses deposit their eggs onto sponges that only grow locally on manganese nodules. The researchers had observed the previously unknown octopus species during diving expeditions in the Pacific at depths of more than 4000 metres - new record depths for these octopuses. Their specific dependence on manganese nodules for brooding eggs shows that the industrial extraction of resources in the deep sea must be preceded by thorough investigations into the ecological consequences of such actions.


Large amounts of meltwater on the East Antarctic ice shelf

Discovery of a ring structure two years ago gives rise to new scientific insights

[12. December 2016] 

The East Antarctic ice shelves may be more vulnerable to climate change than previously assumed. A research team in cooperation with the Alfred Wegener Institute has detected large amounts of meltwater on the Roi Baudouin shelf ice. This is due to strong winds that blow away the snow. This is the result of a study which has now been published in the online edition of the journal Nature Climate Change.

Geoscientific age determination

Identifying age measurements distorted by fossil fuel emissions

Radiocarbon dating remains a reliable tool if it is supplemented by 13C measurements

Mammutknochen im Küstensediment der Insel Muostakh, Sibirien.
[07. December 2016] 

Good news for archaeologists and natural scientists! You will be able to continue to use the radiocarbon method as a reliable tool for determining the age of artefacts and sample materials. The reduction of the carbon isotope 14C in the atmosphere accelerated by anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions and the associated distortion of the radiocarbon age of materials can be precisely identified - by measuring the carbon isotope 13C. This is the result of a study by AWI geoscientist Dr Peter Köhler, which was published today in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Technical Centre

The Alfred Wegener Institute receives Technical Centre

AWI and the city of Bremerhaven present plans for future use at the 'Handelshafen' Area

[17. November 2016] 

Together with the city of Bremerhaven and the Fischereihafenbetriebsgesellschaft (FBG - fishing port operator), the Alfred Wegener Institute has specified the potential use of the area on the Klußmannstraße. A Technical Centre for technical development work as well as expedition preparations is to be built on the opposite side of the AWI campus at "Am Handelshafen".


The quest for the oldest ice on Earth

EU funds three-year project to decipher climate history with 2.2 million Euros

[14. November 2016] 

In Antarctica internationally leading ice and climate scientists of 14 institutions from ten European countries are looking for the oldest ice on Earth. Goal is to find the place, where in Antarctica the ice core can be drilled which goes furthest back in Earth’s history. The European Commission funds the project “Beyond EPICA – Oldest Ice” (BE-OI) with 2.2 million Euros, which is coordinated by the German Alfred Wegener Institute.