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Press release

In the Cornucopia of the European Project of Ice Coring in Antarctica: the oldest Antarctic ice core

[13. January 2005] 

On Tuesday 21th of December 2004 a European team involved in Epica (European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica) reached the drilling depth of 3270.2, which is five meters above the bedrock at Dome C, on the central plateau of the east Antarctic ice sheet. The ice is melting at the bedrock and it has been decided to stop at this depth to avoid any danger of direct contamination of the basal water. The drilling operation has therefore been terminated.

Press release

Research icebreaker ‘Polarstern’ drifting in Antarctic ice

[09. December 2004] 

Since November 27, an ice floe has served as home as well as working place for 55 scientists from 11 nations. The research icebreaker ‘Polarstern’ of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven has been tied up firmly to a drifting ice floe in the Antarctic Weddel Sea. As part of the expedition ‘Ispol’ (Ice Station POLarstern), the floe is the object of a several week investigation by glaciologists, biologists, oceanographers and meteorologists. The area of investigation represents a unique ocean region, because it has the largest percentage of perennial sea ice in the Southern Ocean. The oceanographic, meteorological and biological processes in this region are of global significance.

Press release

Twentieth “Polarstern” expedition to Arctic is drawing to a close

[01. October 2004] 

On October 3rd, the German research vessel “Polarstern” of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research will return to Bremerhaven from its 20th arctic expedition. During the last leg of the voyage, 44 scientists from Germany, Russia and South Korea, supported by crew members, helicopter pilots and technical staff, investigated the region north and west of Spitsbergen. Emphasis was placed on geophysical and geological studies of Fram Strait and Yermak Plateau. Of primary importance were seismic surveys of the upper kilometres of the ocean floor, and the sampling of sediments by means of various sounding devices.

Press release

Decoded gene sequence of the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana

[29. September 2004] 

For the very first time, the genetic make-up of a planktonic marine alga has been sequenced. During this process, a team of international scientists found unexpected metabolic pathways in the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana. The results will be published in the scientific journal ‘Science’ this week.

The fact that Thalassiosira pseudonana operates a urea cycle, has been a special discovery. Up to now, this metabolic pathway for ammonia detoxification was known only from the liver cells of animals and humans. It remains unclear how the cycle works in the alga. In addition, the diatom has two separate means for digesting fat, which is also unusual. One digestive mechanism is carried out as in animals, within mitochondria, the cell’s ‘power stations’. In contrast, fatty…

Press release

Antarctic researchers visit Bremerhaven

[24. September 2004] 

Meeting of the ‘Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research’ (SCAR) from October 3rd to 8th, 2004

Between October 3rd and 8th, delegates of the international ‘Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research’ (SCAR) will be gathering in Bremerhaven. The results and proposals for new research ventures and international cooperation in the Antarctic, developed during the 28th scientific conference of the committee in July, will now be discussed and finalised. Roughly 100 delegates from 31 countries are expected at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research and at the Historical Museum in Bremerhaven.