Our team elucidates the structure, origin, transformation, aggregation, ecological function and distribution of organic compounds in the changing polar ocean.

We aim to understand the function of marine organic compounds, both, as diagnostic markers to decode biogeochemical processes and as drivers of chemical interactions between species.

Organic molecules

  • render or result from important physiological processes of polar organisms, e. g. during photosynthesis, nutrient acquisition and storage of energy.

  • orchestrate species interactions affecting organismal abundance, physiology, performance, resilience and adaptation.

  • represent fingerprints of organic matter transformations and can thus serve as biogeochemical proxies.

News & Facts

Vertical redistribution of water masses on the Northeast Greenland Shelf

Hydrographical measurements to quantify long-term changes in fjords and coastal waters. We find a profound change in the vertical distribution of water masses, with Atlantic water shoaling >60 m and Polar Water thinning >50 m since early 2000’s. Atlantic water is now 1°C warmer and the salinity of surface waters and Polar Water are 1.8 and 0.68 lower.


Expedition to the Arctic


Interaction and feedbacks between ocean structure and dynamics, sea ice physics, biogeochemistry, and biodiversity of the Arctic Ocean.


Central Arctic, Eurasian Basins
RV Polarstern
01.08.2023 – 30.09.2023

New project in Antarctica

RecorD - Recording the baseline before the change: First steps towards an integrated chemical and biological pollution and effects assessment off Dronning Maud Land.


Funding period:
01/2023 – 12/2026

Funded by:
German Researcg Foundation

Research topics and key questions

We contribute to the program-oriented research within the Helmholtz Society:

Topic 6: Marine and Polar Life: Sustaining Biodiversity, Biotic Interactions, and Biogeochemical Functions

  • Subtopic 6.1 Future ecosystem functionality
  • Subtopic 6.2 Adaptation of marine life
  • Subtopic 6.3 The future biological carbon pump

Publications of the Section