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Press release

Lohafex provides new insights on plankton ecology - Only small amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide fixed

[23. March 2009] 

The Indo-German team of scientists from the National Institute of Oceaonography and the Alfred Wegener Institute has returned from its expedition on research vessel Polarstern. The cooperative project Lohafex has yielded new insights on how ocean ecosystems function. But it has dampened hopes on the potential of the Southern Ocean to sequester significant amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and thus mitigate global warming.


Press release

Cause of mussel poisoning identified

[19. March 2009] 

The origin of the neurotoxin azaspiracid has finally been identified after a search for more than a decade. The azaspiracid toxin group can cause severe poisoning in human consumers of mussels after being enriched in the shellfish tissues. The scientific periodical European Journal of Phycology reports in its current issue (Vol. 44/1: p. 63-79) that a tiny algal species, the dinoflagellate Azadinium spinosum, is responsible. Researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association have isolated and described the hitherto unknown organism as a new genus and species of dinoflagellate. They successfully isolated the organism and multiplied it in pure laboratory cultures, subsequently identifying it as the producer of...


Press release

Western Antarctic was ice-free during interglacials - Geological data signal dynamic developments of the ice shield three to five million years ago

[18. March 2009] 

The ice cap of the Western Antarctic has apparently deglaciated completely many times three to five million years ago. The periodical nature reports in its current issue (vol. 458) that these regular deglaciation phases have been caused by changes in the tilt of the Earth’s rotational axis in times of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. This is the result of a sediment core drilled under German participation below the Antarctic Ross ice shelf in the framework of the international drilling project ANDRILL (ANtarctic geological DRILLing).


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