“We’ve shown what can be achieved when we think in terms of major research missions.”
In her second term, Boetius plans to advance research into biodiversity in the oceans and coastal regions. At the AWI facilities in Oldenburg, the Helmholtz Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity is now expanding, thanks to new international appointments. Its research focus areas include the relationship between human beings and the ocean, and approaches to protecting and restoring endangered marine environments.
In addition, Boetius plans to initiate an Antarctic mission as part of the UN’s Ocean Decade, working together with a range of international partner institutions to do so. The Alfred Wegener Institute will investigate the Antarctic’s climate and ecosystem, and the future of the Antarctic ice sheets in the face of global warming, in unprecedented detail and, for the first time, through synchronised efforts across the continent. “The search for the unknown, and at times unplanned discoveries in a world that, in many ways, remains unexplored, will always remain at the heart of our excellent foundational research. At the same time, over the past few years we’ve shown what can be achieved when we think in terms of major research missions, embarked upon together with partners from around the world. In the years to come, we plan to focus a mission on the Antarctic before climate change can transform it. In this regard, we also want to make knowledge concerning our planet accessible to far more people,” says Boetius.
In addition to these research initiatives, numerous infrastructure projects are on the agenda. For example, at the AWI headquarters in Bremerhaven, the new Technical Centre will open its doors, offering a focal point for innovative maritime technologies. And following on the heels of the recently christened new coastal research cutter Uthörn – the first seagoing ship to run on sustainable methanol – the next major project will be constructing the Polarstern II, a new flagship for German polar research and its partners.
Moreover, next year Antje Boetius will, for the first time since assuming the Directorship, lead an expedition on board the Polarstern. During the ArcWatch expedition, she and an international team will assess how the retreat of the Arctic sea ice has affected the ecosystem of the Arctic Ocean – down to the ocean’s floor and throughout the North Pole region – over the past decade.
Antje Boetius – vitae in brief
Antje Boetius is a polar and deep-sea researcher and Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research. As head of the Joint Research Group for Deep-sea Ecology and Technology at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology and a Professor of Geomicrobiology, she is also part of the University of Bremen’s Cluster of Excellence MARUM. Boetius has taken part in nearly 50 expeditions on international research vessels. Her current research activities focus on the effects of climate change on the Arctic Ocean, and on the biodiversity of the deep sea. She is a recipient of the DFG’s Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize and Communicator Award, the German Environmental Award (2018), and the Federal Cross of Merit (2019). She is a member of the “Leopoldina – National Academy of the Sciences” and further national and international academies and professional associations, and an active science communicator.
More information about Antje Boetius and her research:
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