Long-Term Ecological Research in the deep Arctic Ocean


The marine Arctic has been an integral part of the history of our planet over the past 130 million years and contributes significantly to the present functioning of the earth and its life. The global cycles of a variety of materials fundamental to life and the state of the atmosphere depend to a significant extent on arctic marine processes.


The past decades has seen remarkable changes in the Arctic, of which we do not know whether these represent temporary perturbations, long-term trends, or a new equilibrium. The decrease of sea-ice extent and sea-ice thickness in the past decade is statistically significant. These alterations will directly affect food-web structures and ecosystem functioning.


Enabling the detection of expected changes in abiotic and biotic parameters in a transition zone between the northern North Atlantic and the central Arctic Ocean, the Alfred Wegener Institute established the LTER (Long-Term Ecological Research) observatory HAUSGARTEN in the Fram Strait.




HAUSGARTEN observatory displays 21 permanent stations covering a water depth range of 250 to 5500 m water depth. Repeated sampling and the deployment of moorings and different free-falling systems which act as observation platforms has taken place since the beginning of the station in summer 1999. At regular intervals, a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) is used for targeted sampling, the positioning and servicing of autonomous measuring instruments and the performance of in situ experiments. Our 3000 m depth-rated Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) allows the sensing and sampling in the water column as well as large-scale observations at the seafloor.

Since 2014, HAUSGARTEN observatory is successively extended within the frame of the HGF infrastructure project FRAM (Frontiers in Arctic marine Monitoring).


Contact: T. Soltwedel, M. Bergmann, C. Hasemann, E.-M. Nöthig, I. Schewe



Soltwedel, T., Bauerfeind, E., Bergmann, M., Budaeva, N., Hoste, E., Jaeckisch, N., Juterzenka, K. v., Matthießen, J., Mokievsky, V., Nöthig, E.-M., Quéric, N., Sablotny, B., Sauter, E., Schewe, I., Urban-Malinga, B., Wegner, J., Wlodarska-Kowalczuk, M., Klages, M. (2005): HAUSGARTEN: multidisciplinary investigations at a deep-sea, long-term observatory in the Arctic Ocean. Oceanography 18(3): 46-61, doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2005.24.

Soltwedel, T., Bauerfeind, E., Bergmann, M., Bracher, A., Budaeva, N., Busch, K., Cherkasheva, A., Fahl, K., Grzelak, K., Hasemann, C., Jacob, M., Kraft, A., Lalande, C., Metfies, K., Nöthig, E.-M., Meyer, K., Quéric, N.-V., Schewe, I., Wlodarska-Kowalczuk, M., Klages, M. (2016). Natural variability or anthropogenically-induced variation? Insights from 15 years of multidisciplinary observations at the arctic marine LTER site HAUSGARTEN. Ecological Indicators 65: 89-102, doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.201510.001.


Publications featuring scientific results from the LTER observatory HAUSGARTEN

Conference contributions with results from HAUSGARTEN observatory

Theses written on results from observations at HAUSGARTEN


Established: 1999

Area: 78.5°N - 80°N, 05°W - 11°E

Sampling sites: 21

Water depths: 250 - 5500 m


annual and (partly) continuously sensing and sampling in the water comlumn and at the deep seafloor, visual observations, in situ experimental work

Primary contact: Thomas Soltwedel

Publications: ePIC

Data: Pangaea

Annual mean scientific output since 1999:

peer-reviewed publications: 8

Conference contributions: 13

Theses (BSc, MSc, PhD): 2

Expeditions to HAUSGARTEN: 29

2023   Polarstern   PS136

2022   Maria S. Merian MSM108

2021   Polarstern   PS126

2019   Polarstern   PS121

2018   Maria S. Merian MSM77

2018   Polarstern   PS114

2017   Polarstern   PS108

2017   Polarstern   PS107

2016   Polarstern   PS99.2

2015   Polarstern   PS93.2

2014   Polarstern   PS85

2013   Maria S. Merian   MSM29

2012   Polarstern   ARK-XXVII/2

2011   Polarstern   ARK-XXVI/2

2010   Polarstern   ARK-XXV/2

2009   Polarstern   ARK-XXIV/2

2008   Polarstern   ARK-XXIII/2

2007   Polarstern   ARK-XXII/1c

2006   Maria S. Merian   MSM02/4

2005   L'Atalante    Arctic Ocean 2005

2005   Polarstern   ARK-XXI/1b

2004   Polarstern   ARK-XX/1

2003   Polarstern   ARK-XIX/3c

2003   Polarstern   ARK-XIX/1

2002   Polarstern   ARK-XVIII/1

2001   Polarstern   ARK-XVII/2

2001   L'Atalante   Arctic Ocean 2001

2000   Polarstern   ARK-XVI/2

1999   Polarstern   ARK-XV/1