Over 200 scientists and technicians from research institutions in 14 countries will take part in the five expedition legs.
RV Polarstern in Antartica.
Photo: Simon and Simon / Alfred Wegener Institute
They will examine a wide variety of topics: oceanography and marine chemistry, atmospheric research and the biology of bacteria, tiny algae and animals all the way to crustaceans, fish and whales. Moreover, the Polarstern will supply Neumayer Station III in Antarctica with material, provisions and personnel.
The first leg of the expedition will take the vessel from Bremerhaven to Cape Town. On the way from the temperate latitudes through the subtropics and tropics researchers will investigate the material flows between ocean and atmosphere in the various climate zones. They want to find out more about how, for example, varying air humidity, cloud cover and temperature influence one another and how much radiation energy reaches the Earth’s and the ocean surface. The incident radiation energy is the driving force for most physical processes in the Earth’s climate system. On this leg, furthermore, technical scientific equipment (hydroacoustic, IT and communication systems, etc.) will be tried out, calibrated and tested. This is a major prerequisite for meeting the high demands placed on the measured data gained in this way.
Whales are a subject of study for the Oceanic Acoustics team at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association. Last year researchers for the first time put out a recorder that records whale songs around 700 kilometres off the coast of Namibia. Since visual observations of whales in the enormous oceans are rare, the bioacoustics experts wish to collect information on which species occur when in areas only presumed to be the mating grounds of blue and fin whales up to now. Since the behaviour-specific calls, such as during mating, are known, the researchers can also tell whether the whales are just passing through or really reproducing there. In this way they want to make a major contribution to learning more about the seasonal occurrence and reproduction behaviour of these baleen whales. This first leg of the expedition ends on 1 December 2011 in Cape Town, South Africa.
From there Polarstern will then head for Neumayer Station III in the Antarctic for supply and disposal purposes and then return to Cape Town from there. The following legs of the expedition in the Southern Ocean as of the beginning of 2012 will involve studies on the global carbon cycle. Interdisciplinary research teams will examine the physical, chemical and biological processes that drive the carbon pumps in the Southern Ocean and particularly in the numerous gyre systems there. Among other things, the focus will be on the role of microorganisms that play a significant role in carbon turnover. The investigations will also look at species diversity, distribution and frequency of animals and plants in the Antarctic deep sea. Additional calls at Punta Arenas (Chile) are planned before the Polarstern returns to its home port of Bremerhaven in May 2012.
The Alfred Wegener Institute conducts research in the Arctic, Antarctic and oceans of the high and middle latitudes. It coordinates polar research in Germany and provides major infrastructure to the international scientific community, such as the research icebreaker Polarstern and stations in the Arctic and Antarctica. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of the seventeen research centres of the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organisation in Germany.
Ralf Röchert | idw
Six-decade-old space mystery solved with shoebox-sized satellite called a CubeSat
15.12.2017 | National Science Foundation
NSF-funded researchers find that ice sheet is dynamic and has repeatedly grown and shrunk
15.12.2017 | National Science Foundation
DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.
Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences
15.12.2017 | Life Sciences