In the course of the expedition, the team will attend to further tasks concerning the FRAM (Frontiers in Arctic marine Monitoring) Ocean Observing System. For example, an autonomous underwater vehicle that operates on the ocean floor (Benthic Crawler) will be retrieved after twelve months on duty. The Crawler creates oxygen profiles of the seafloor, photographs its surroundings, and uses a laser scanner to survey the terrain. The data gathered offers information on oxygen consumption in connection with carbon mineralisation at the bottom of the deep sea.
Between now and October, there will be two subsequent expeditions, with a call to port in Tromsø in between: From mid-June, the Polarstern will engage in geoscientific research at the Aurora Vent Field, a hydrothermal region northeast of Greenland, where scientists will investigate e.g. seafloor spreading and the unique biotic communities at Gakkel Ridge. In early August, she’ll set sail for the Central Arctic to evaluate the impacts of sea-ice retreat on the ocean and life throughout the North Pole region, down to the ocean’s depths. The research icebreaker is expected back in Bremerhaven on 1 October.