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Coral reefs

Vital Ventilation

Stony corals use a refined built-in ventilation system to protect themselves from environmental stressors

With the help of tiny cilia, stony corals can influence the flow conditions in their environment and thus protect themselves from harmful oxygen concentrations.
[23. August 2022]  Dying reefs and once-vibrant corals that have since lost all colour: climate change is having massive effects on the architects of undersea cities. As waters grow warmer, the phenomenon of “coral bleaching” continues to spread. Yet not all corals are equally susceptible. An international team led by Cesar Pacherres and Moritz Holtappels from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven and Soeren Ahmerkamp from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen may have found the explanation: using minuscule filaments (cilia), corals can influence the currents in their immediate vicinity, protecting themselves from harmful oxygen concentrations, as the experts report in the journal Current Biology. …

Noise affects life on the seafloor

Sounds with low frequencies stress some species of crustaceans, worms and mussels - with potentially far-reaching consequences for marine ecosystems

Amphipods in sediment
[18. August 2022]  Oceans have their own unique soundscape. Many marine organisms, for example, use sound for echolocation, navigation or communication with conspecifics. In recent decades, however, more and more sounds caused by human activities are permeating the waters. A study by the Alfred Wegener Institute now presents evidence that these sounds affect some invertebrates that live in and on the seafloor in ways that important functions they provide for their ecosystems may be impacted.

Polarstern Returns to Bremerhaven

After 51 days at sea, the research icebreaker returned from the Arctic to her home port in Bremerhaven on Wednesday

Working on an ice floe
[16. August 2022]  The Research Vessel Polarstern was in the Arctic for the past seven weeks. There, the summertime sea-ice extent declined by ca. 40 percent over the past 40 years – making it one of the most visible impacts of climate change. In order to better grasp such changes, the research teams on board the Polarstern investigated Atlantic Water Recirculation in Fram Strait and in the marginal ice zone north of Svalbard, as well as ocean/glacier interactions off the coast of Greenland.

Sustainable collaboration: Using the AWI’s polar aircraft in the Harz

Researchers use test flights for upcoming Arctic campaign to quantify damage to forests

[Translate to English:] Luftaufnahme geschädigter Wald nahe der Okertalsperre
[15. July 2022]  In Germany, the Harz is a region particularly hard hit by climate change: storms, arid conditions and subsequent bark beetle infestations are causing unprecedented damage to the forest. Sea-ice experts from the Alfred Wegener Institute are now helping to quantify the damage and contributing to the success of reforestation efforts – from the air. To carry out essential equipment tests for an upcoming Arctic campaign, they are engaging in survey flights over the Harz, during which they're putting their new, high-resolution camera systems through their paces.

Weddell Sea

150 Whales Observed Feeding Together

For the first time since the ban on whaling, large groups of southern fin whales documented in the Antarctic

[Translate to English:] Finnwale in der Antarktis
[07. July 2022]  After blue whales, fin whales are the largest whales in the world – and human beings have hunted both species to near-extinction. After the ban on commercial whaling in 1976, the stocks of these long-lived, but slow-growing creatures are rebounding: in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers and filmmakers jointly present videos and photos of large groups of up to 150 southern fin whales in their historical feeding areas.