We are currently leading or are involved in the following national and international projects funded by th HGF, BMBF, DFG and EU.


AGENSI: A Genetic View into Past Sea Ice Variability in the Arctic, Topic: ERC-2018-COG

AGENSI, an ERC Horizon 2020 project led by Stijn de Schepper (Bergen University, Norway), takes an innovative approach to generate essential knowledge on Arctic sea ice variability, a crucial indicator or ‘canary in the coal mine’ for the Arctic and global climate state. If greenhouse gas emissions remain unchecked and further increase, summer sea ice loss may pass a critical threshold that could drastically transform the Arctic as we known it today. The innovation and relevance of this project lies in the development of environmental, sedimentary ancient DNA (sedaDNA) as a new proxy for reconstructing past sea ice evolution, capitalizing on the recent immense growth in the analytical capabilities in molecular biology. Although, the main focus of this project is the development of the new proxy, the multi-disciplinary approach is a combination of sedaDNA, micropaleontology (diatoms, dinoflagellates), and organic geochemistry (highly branched isoprenoids/”IP25”, alkenones, sterols). The latter is carried-out at the AWI as cooperation partner.

Contact: Kirsten Fahl, Ruediger Stein (AGENSI Project Leader: Stijn de Schepper;



BMBF Project "M-VRE: The MOSAiC Virtual Research Environment"

In order to exploit the full potential of the MOSAiC expedition more efficiently, the M-VRE project provides online services for the exploration, analysis and visualization of the MOSAiC data in a "Virtual Research Environment". A central tool in the M-VRE is webODV, the online version of the widely used Ocean Data View software for interactive, efficient and interdisciplinary data analysis. Large data collections can be analyzed in a collaborative and reproducible online environment.  webODV facilitates interdisciplinary and user-friendly access to atmosphere, ice, ocean and biology data for the generation of new research findings and publication ready visualizations. In addition, the AI-based algorithm SalaciaML will be combined with webODV services for supporting quality control procedures of ocean temperature profiles and the generation of new Arctic data products.

Contact: Sebastian Mieruch-Schnülle


Antarctic Sea Ice Reconstruction

HGF-Young Investigator Group PALICE

Contact: Juliane Müller


REKLIM Regional climate change, Helmholtz Initiative, Topic 8: Abrupt climate change derived from proxy data

Topic 8 aims at identifying and explaining regional and temporal patterns of climate variability between the Pacific and Atlantic region as well as between lower and higher latitudes. The time span of the investigations encompasses the last 140.000 years and focusses on time scales from years to millennia. This time span allows scientists not only to analyze the rapid climate change during the last glacial termination and during the Holocene, but also to compare it to the second last glacial-interglacial transition and the following interglacial, the Eemian.

Contact: Lars Max, Ralf Tiedemann, Website:


MARUM OC3: High- and low-latitude atmosphere-ocean interactions

Atmosphere-ocean interactions at high latitudes are thought to play a key role in past atmospheric CO2 variability by controlling the sea-ice field, upper ocean physical parameters and stratification, nutrient utilization and biological export, deep-water exposure rates, and high-low latitude exchange of nutrients and heat. For the first time it is possible to study Pleistocene-Pliocene atmosphere-ocean processes in the mid- and high latitude South Pacific using an exceptional set of new sediment cores.

Contact: Andrea Jaeschke, Mark Wengler, Andrea Abelmann-Gersonde, Frank Lamy, Website:


The dynamics of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet during the Cenozoic

Since several decades the Amundsen Sea sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is subject to dramatic changes. Future projections assume an accelerated retreat into the deep inner basins beneath the current ice sheet, since the grounding line, triggered by the inflow of warmer water masses onto the shelf, continuously retreats into deeper water. This project aims at illuminating the past behavior of the two largest ice streams draining into the Amundsen Sea, the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers. If these two major ice streams continue retreating into the deep inner basins, they would raise the global sea level by ~1.5 m. In order to assess this threat and to put the current rapid changes into a long-term context, this project combines high-resolution bathymetry, seismic profiles, and sediment cores from the palaeo-ice sheet bed, which is deep seafloor today. These data will help to develop 4D reconstructions of these two major ice streams in order to decipher their extent, flow, and retreat since the Last Glacial Maximum (26.000 - 19.000 years before present). This information will help gauging and improving previously available ice-sheet models that aim at reliably predicting future ice sheet change.

Contact: Johann P. Klages, Website: waic-klages-en.html


DFG-funded International Research Training Group „ArcTrain“ (Processes and impacts of climate change in the North Atlantic Ocean and the Canadian Arctic), a collaborative project between the University of Bremen, the Alfred Wegener Institute, and a consortium of eight Canadian universities. Subproject “Variability of Arctic sea ice, meltwater discharge and primary production through last glacial to Holocene times: A biomarker approach

Sea ice is a critical component in the global climate system, contributing to changes in Earth’s albedo, biological processes (primary production), and deep-water formation, a driving mechanism of the global thermohaline circulation. In order to understand processes controlling recent dramatic reductions in sea ice cover in the polar regions, it is essential to determine these changes in sea ice occurrence and its natural variability in the past on time scales going back in time beyond the period of direct measurements and observations. In this context, this project will use organic-geochemical bulk parameters and specific biomarkers („IP25“, sterols, n-alkanes, alkenones, etc.) to reconstruct surface-water characteristics in the (sub-) polar North Atlantic (Fram Strait, Greenland Sea, Baffin Bay) and their changes through late Quaternary times. Of special interest will be the interrelationship between sea-ice cover, meltwater discharge, and primary productivity, as well as the Laurentide and Greenland ice-sheet history.

Contact: Kirsten Fahl, Rüdiger Stein, Website: