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Multidisciplinary marine network EuroMarine General Assembly in Bremen

More than 100 international scientists of the EU multidisciplinary marine network EuroMarine met on 17 January for three days in Bremen. The aim of the conference was to integrate the three networks of excellence EUR-OCEANS, MarBEF and Marine Genomics Europe in order to optimize the marine science in Europe in the fields of biodiversity, genomics, and modeling of ecosystems.

A multidisciplinary approach will help to understand the interactions between genes, organisms and ecosystems, including their response to human activity and climate. A key challenge is to ensure that this wealth of knowledge is made available to anyone interested.

The EuroMarine network will establish common services and tools to train and support a new generation of scientists that can specialize in one field and still be literate-in and connected-to the fields of genomics, biodiversity and ecosystem research.

After Dr Philippe Cury from the IFREMER welcomed the participants, the three directors from the marine research institutes in Bremen gave short introduction. Prof. Dr. Gerold Wefer from the MARUM, Prof. Dr. Rudolf Amann from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology and Prof. Dr. Karin Lochte from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research presented the marine research activities in Bremen. Marine research in the region of Bremen and Bremerhaven increased during the last years.
Now more than 1000 persons are working for this part of science which is regarded as important for the future development of economy and social structures. The environmental changes demand answers which may be given by the experts from Bremen, Bremerhaven and their partners in Germany and Europe. Their expertise covers the ecology, geosciences, climate, biology, oceanography, microbiology from the Arctic to the Antartic, from the atmosphere down to the deep-sea sediments. And their tools are modern analytical techniques, instruments and research platforms.

Prof. Gerold Wefer said: “MARUM operates modern deep-sea robots and develops new technologies like the mobile seafloor drill rig MeBo. With these tools new research opportunities are facilitated e. g. on hydrothermal vents, cold seeps or mud volcanoes.“

Prof. Karin Lochte stated: “Critical to our work are the infrastructures like research vessels and stations which enable our scientists as well as our partners from universities and international research institutes to access the Arctic and Antarctic and offer excellent research conditions for a variety of disciplines”.

Prof. Rudolf Amann said: “Using molecular biological tools microbiologists can determine the microbial composition of complex habitats. At the MPI the scientists are cooperating for many years with many European colleagues. I think that EuroMarine is the important step in the right direction. During the time period 2004 - 2008 the Network of Excellence Marine Genomics Europe was important for the genomic research and gave the right impetus to the scientific marine institutions in Bremen and Bremerhaven.”

Prof. Dr. Michael Thorndyke from the EuroMarine coordination team points out: “116 marine institutes were involved in the former Networks of Excellence MarBEF, EUR-OCEANS and Marine Genomics Europe. Our goal for EuroMarine is to establish a new European consortium to keep the scientific standards.”

Manfred Schlösser

Dr. Manfred Schloesser | Max-Planck-Institut
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