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Deep-Sea Research

Simulated deep-sea mining affects ecosystem functions at the seafloor

Deep-sea mining-related disturbances have a long-term impact on the natural ecosystem functions and microbial communities at the seafloor.

[29. April 2020] 

Deep-sea mining could provide a way to address the increasing need for rare metals. However, its environmental impact is only partially known. Researchers now describe that deep-sea mining-related disturbances also have a long-term impact on the natural ecosystem functions at the seafloor.

MOSAiC Expedition

Alternative resupply plan for Polarstern now in place

Thanks to the support of the German research vessels Merian and Sonne, the MOSAiC expedition will continue, despite the coronavirus pandemic. The new MOSAiC team will start in May.

[24. April 2020] 

Despite the current challenges, the MOSAiC expedition will continue. After many national borders were closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic, one team transfer had to be postponed.


World Press Photo Award for AWI Photographer

Esther Horvath wins one of the world’s most prestigious photography competitions, with a picture from the MOSAiC expedition

[17. April 2020] 

Caught in the glare of Polarstern’s spotlights, a curious mother polar bear and her cub explore the MOSAiC ice camp – with this image Esther Horvath, a photographer and photo editor at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), won the World Press Photo Award for an individual picture in the category “Environment”, as the World Press Photo Foundation announced on the evening of 16 April.

Climate History

A sensational discovery: Traces of rainforests in West Antarctica

90 million-year-old forest soil provides unexpected evidence for exceptionally warm climate near the South Pole in the Cretaceous

[01. April 2020] 

An international team of researchers led by geoscientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, have now provided a new and unprecedented perspective on the climate history of Antarctica. In a sediment core collected in the Amundsen Sea, West Antarctica, in February 2017, the team discovered pristinely preserved forest soil from the Cretaceous, including a wealth of plant pollen and spores and a dense network of roots.

Marine Pollution

The seafloor of Fram Strait is a sink for microplastic from the Arctic and North Atlantic Ocean

A new study shows: sea ice and ocean currents transport plastic particles into the deep sea from two directions

[25. March 2020] 

Working in the Arctic Fram Strait, scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) have found microplastic throughout the water column with particularly high concentrations at the ocean floor.