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Researchers measure record erosion on Alaskan riverbank

Itkillik River eats into the thawing riverbank at an average rate of 19 metres per year.

Forscher arbeiten an der 35 Meter hohen und 680 Meter langen Steilwand (Yedoma, Permafrost-Aufschluss) am Itkillit River im Norden Alaskas.
[26. January 2016] 

According to estimates, Alaska's thawing permafrost soils cost the USA several 100 million dollars every decade – primarily because airports, roads, pipelines and settlements require relocation as a result of sinking ground and eroding river banks. An international team of researchers has now measured riverbank erosion rates, which exceed all previous records, along the Itkillik River in Alaska's north. In a stretch of land where the ground contains a particularly large quantity of ice the Itkillik River eats into the river bank at 19 metres per year, the researchers report in a study recently published in the journal Geomorphology.

Marine Litter

Micro-plastic particles in edible fish and herbivores

According to recent AWI studies, plastic waste in the North and Baltic Seas is also eaten by edible fish and nautiluses

Gemeine Strandschnecke Littorina littorea
[11. January 2016] 

Micro-plastic particles pose a risk not only to sea birds, whales and organisms at the bottom of the sea. In two new studies, scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute Hemholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) show that plastic waste is also eaten by nautili as well as North and Baltic Sea fish such as cod and mackerel.

Joint Press Release of AWI and DBG

Alga of the Year 2016: Ice alga Melosira arctica – winner or loser of climate change?

Arctic Diatom in the Focus of a New AWI Research Project

Viele einzellige Melosira arctica hängen in Gallerte verpackt von den sie tragenden Eisschollen in das Meerwasser herab.
[06. January 2016] 

Researchers have chosen one of the most important algae of the Arctic, the Melosira arctica, as Alga of the Year. The scientists are planning to use it to study the impact of climate change.

Education and Training

RV Polarstern arrives in Cape Town

A Team of Young Scientists takes the Vital Signs of the Atlantic Ocean

Ein CPR (Continuous Plankton Recorder) wird vorbereitet.
[01. December 2015] 

The German research vessel Polarstern will arrive tomorrow in Cape Town after a five week voyage. During this training cruise from Bremerhaven to South Africa 32 international young scientists were trained in how to observe and measure the vital signs of the Atlantic Ocean.

Climate Change

Warm water is mixing up life in the Arctic

AWI researchers’ unique 15-year observation series reveals how sensitive marine ecosystems in polar regions are to change

Experimente im Bereich des AWI-HAUSGARTEN. Punktueller Nahrungseintrag am Meeresboden. Foto: Alfred-Wegener-Institut / Michael Klages
[19. November 2015] 

The warming of arctic waters in the wake of climate change is likely to produce radical changes in the marine habitats of the High North. This is indicated by data from long-term observations in the Fram Strait, which researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) have now analysed. Their most important finding: even a short-term influx of warm water into the Arctic Ocean would suffice to fundamentally impact the local symbiotic communities, from the water’s surface down to the deep seas. As the authors recently reported in the journal “Ecological Indicators”, that’s precisely what happened between 2005 and 2008.