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ArcWatch Expedition

Polarstern reaches North Pole

Research icebreaker at the northernmost point of the earth for the seventh time

Polarstern at the North Pole
[08. September 2023]  Five weeks after setting sail from Tromsø, Norway, the Alfred Wegener Institute's research vessel Polarstern makes a stop at the northernmost point on Earth. Here, too, the international team of researchers is investigating the coupling between sea ice, the ocean and its life, including within the deep sea.

Due to sea-ice retreat, zooplankton could remain in the deep longer

New study shows: Climate change is affecting the seasonal vertical migration of zooplankton in the Arctic

Amphipod Themisto libellula
[28. August 2023]  Due to intensifying sea-ice melting in the Arctic, sunlight is now penetrating deeper and deeper into the ocean. Since marine zooplankton respond to the available light, this is also changing their behaviour – especially how the tiny organisms rise and fall within the water column. As an international team of researchers led by the Alfred Wegener Institute has now shown, in the future this could lead to more frequent food shortages for the zooplankton, and to negative effects for larger species including seals and whales. The study was just released in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Climate change threatens Arctic polar cod stocks

Researchers fear significant consequences of rising temperatures and sea ice retreat for the most important fish in the Arctic Ocean

The Arctic polar cod Boreogadus saida
[09. August 2023]  Arctic cod is the most abundant fish in the Arctic Ocean. It is an important food source for Arctic marine mammals and plays an important role in the self-sufficiency of the Inuit. An international study team, including researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute, has now evaluated the most important scientific work on Arctic cod of the past decades. The conclusion: Above all, the already advanced decline in arctic sea ice cover as a result of man-made climate change could have a significant impact on the future distribution of the species. The study was published in the journal Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene.

ArcWatch 1

Eyewitnesses to Arctic Change

AWI Director Antje Boetius leads Polarstern expedition to the Central Arctic

Aerial view of Polarstern at Gakkel Ridge
[01. August 2023]  On Thursday, 3 August 2023, the research vessel Polarstern is scheduled to set off from Tromsø, Norway, towards the North Pole. For two months, a good fifty scientific expedition participants will explore the Arctic in transition as sea ice extent reaches its annual minimum in September. They will explore the biology, chemistry and physics of sea ice as well as the effects of sea ice retreat on the entire ocean system from the surface to the deep sea. Eleven years ago, Antje Boetius was part of the largest ever sea ice minumum in the Arctic and its consequences for life in the deep sea. Now she is returning with her team to compare the state of the Arctic today - also with the data from the MOSAiC expedition 2019/20.

Research project

Artificial Intelligence for Ethical and Sustainable Shrimp Farming

Researchers develop early warning system for stress symptoms in shrimp

Shrimp under the microscope
[27. June 2023]  The project MonitorShrimp, which is making considerable strides in improving animal welfare and performance in the context of shrimp farming, is the outcome of a consortium combining the AWI, Oceanloop and Sander Holding. The participating researchers have developed a computer vision system that allows early detection and monitoring of the tiny creatures’ growth, population size, mortality and stress.