Press release

175th birthday of the German polar explorer Eduard Dallmann

[10. March 2005] 

March 11, 2005 marks the 175th birthday of Eduard Dallmann, a pioneer of German Antarctic research. Through his expeditions, Dallmann, who was born in Blumenthal (now part of Bremen) contributed significantly to the knowledge about Antarctica. He named numerous island groups and straits. From 1873 onwards, the ‘Grönland’, one of the first sailing ships equipped with an auxiliary steam engine in Antarctic waters, sailed under his command. Today, the ‘Dallmann Laboratory’ on King George Island, operated by the Alfred Wegener Institure for Polar and Marine Research, pays tribute to the pioneer and discoverer.

Polar researcher
Dallmann was 15 years old when he started travelling, initially as ship’s boy. With only 36, he sailed as skipper and was the first European to set foot onto Wrangel Island in the Arctic. When whale populations in the Northern oceans started to decline, Dallmann was commissioned by the German ‘Polarschiffahrtsgesellschaft’ (Polar Shipping Association) to investigate the Antarctic whale and seal populations. For this purpose he used the ‘Grönland’, a ship built in 1872 at Wencke dockyard in Bremerhaven. The commercial success of this whaling expedition was limited and barely covered its cost; however, the resulting discoveries were significant. During the pursuit of some whales, the outstanding navigator discovered Bismarck Strait and Neumayer Channel, among others. Throughout his many years of voyages, Eduard Dallmann never lost a ship or a crew member. He died on December 23, 1896 in Blumenthal.

Dallmann Laboratory
Since 1994, the Alfred Wegener Institute has operated the ‘Dallmann Laboratory’ located near Potter Cove on the South Shetland Island of King George. Dallmann frequently used the ice-free cove for shelter from Antarctic storms. Nowadays, biologists and geoscientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute, in collaboration with Argentinean and Dutch scientists, use the location primarily for their investigations of increased UV radiation effects on marine communities following ozone depletion. The excellent reputation of the Dallman Laboratory, and the favourable research conditions in otherwise often shelf-ice and glacier covered Antarctic regions attract increasingly more scientists. With the ongoing upgrading of research facilities and accommodations during this and next year, the Dallmann Laboratory is in the process of becoming one of the best equipped land based stations on the Peninsula.

Bremerhaven, March 10, 2005

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Das Institut

Das Alfred-Wegener-Institut forscht in den Polarregionen und Ozeanen der mittleren und hohen Breiten. Als eines von 19 Forschungszentren der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft koordiniert es Deutschlands Polarforschung und stellt Schiffe wie den Forschungseisbrecher Polarstern und Stationen für die internationale Wissenschaft zur Verfügung.