International Summer School
In the 18th Coastal Summer School 16 young scientists from nine nations visiting the North Sea island Helgoland for eleven days. The aim of the project is to deepen their knowledge of coastal phytoplankton research.
This year's Summer School is titled: “Marine phytoplankton diversity observation: innovative methods and industrial applications”. On the Biologische Anstalt of Helgoland (BAH) of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), and on the research vessel Heincke they gain insight into techniques relevant to long-term and remote sensing observations of phytoplankton diversity and abundance detection as well as industrial applications of phytoplankton research related to microalgae biotechnology, aquaculture and bionics. They are guided by twelve experts, who interdisciplinarily present them the latest findings on the summer school’s topic and discuss future challenges of coastal phytoplankton research with them. The lecturers from AWI are part of the European Project PORTWIMS (Portugal Twinning for innovation and excellence in marine science and earth observation), a network cooperative project betweenthe Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon (FC.ID) with AWI and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML). In addition, the Institute for Coastal Research of the Helmholtz Centre Geesthacht (HZG) contributes with a module linking phytoplankton to particle processes in the coastal ocean.
This summer school is aimed at highly committed, advanced young scientists in marine sciences, coastal engineering and coastal zone management, who had to apply for the limited placements in astringent selection procedure. “We had many more very good applicants from all over the world than we were able to accept. The selection of participants was anything but easy, but an incredibly motivated group of young people came together and worked together fantastically," says Eva-Maria Brodte from AWI, which coordinated the summer school this year. The participants not only come from European countries such as Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and Greece, but also from as far as as Algeria, Namibia, South Africa, and Australia. “With the AWI-PORTWIMS groups of Phytooptics, Time Series Coordination, Shelf Sea Ecology, Planktosens, Bionic Lightweight Design, Aquaculture Research and additional contribution by the HZG Coastal Research, we have been able to cover a broad range of expertise for phytoplankton observations and related technology transfer,” Brodte continued.
“Due to its offshore location, the AWI Helgoland provides the opportunity to combine theoretical training with hands-on practical sessions on the research vessel Heincke and is therefore ideally suited for the topic of this year’s summer school. “It was particularly important for us to give junior scientists insight by the daily ship cruises to classical microscopy combined with novel technologies regarding molecular and optical observations and functional morphology. The lectures at Helgoland provided the background on long-term data analysis and archival, remote sensing data processing and knowledge on technology transfer with focus on blue economy, aquaculture and bionics for lightweight designs,” adds Astrid Bracher from AWI and principal scientist at AWI for PORTWIMS.
Since 2002, the Coastal Summer School has been jointly organised every year by the AWI, the HZG and the Baltic Sea Research Institute (IOW) at different locations and on different focal topics.