Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Helgoland strengthened as location for marine research

21.09.2010
AWI Centre for Scientific Diving opened after complete revamping

Bigger, more attractive and geared to the relevant scientific requirements: the Centre for Scientific Diving of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research at the Biological Institute Helgoland. More than 1500 scientific diving operations a year in all oceans, particularly in the Arctic and Antarctic, make diving-aided research a crucial method applied at the Alfred Wegener Institute.

Now divers and scientists have even better conditions for training and research. The AWI Centre for Scientific Diving, one of the biggest professional diving facilities for scientific investigations, has undergone expansion and modernisation in the past eleven months.

On Thursday, 23 September 2010 it will be officially opened by Prof. Karin Lochte, director of the Alfred Wegener Institute. At the same time 12 divers will receive their certificates as “Certified Research Diver” and “European Scientific Diver“.

“We are very glad about our contribution to further developing Helgoland as a major location for marine research in Germany by expanding and modernising the AWI Centre for Scientific Diving,” states Prof. Karen H. Wiltshire, director of the Biological Institute Helgoland.

Besides revamping the actual building, it was especially important to modernise the technical equipment. Now a three by four metre saltwater test pool with a depth of three metres is available in the diving preparation section. “When we send out a scientific diver on the Polarstern, it is a very expensive operation and every move on site has to be well-rehearsed. In the test pool we can practise even the most complicated operations,” says Prof. Philipp Fischer, since 2006 scientific head of the AWI Centre for Scientific Diving and fish ecologist at the Biological Institute Helgoland. For instance, a colleague had to mount and adjust a gas collection device at methane outlet points underwater. “The water in this region was extremely turbid. In the preparation phase we bonded the plates of the diving masks and practised until every move could be virtually carried out blindfolded. It is almost like space travel where the astronauts have to practise even the smallest step for six months or more.”

Thanks to the modernisation, the AWI Centre for Scientific Diving enables scientific diving at the highest international level. “In addition to training our own divers, we can increasingly train research divers from Germany and abroad on Helgoland and develop junior scientific specialists,” says Fischer. There is a great demand since the use of research vessels and diving robots (remotely operated vehicles – ROVs) is expensive and not possible in all waters. This is the reason behind the pronounced rise in scientific diving internationally. Particularly in shallow coastal waters, for example, there is a need for scientific divers to carry out targeted and environmentally friendly sampling at a depth of 20 to 30 metres.

Due to Helgoland’s unique location as an island far off the German coast, in the middle of the North Sea, a region that is significantly threatened by climate change, Fischer and his team see Helgoland as a “hot spot” of marine research. “There are many experiments we can’t simulate in the lab when we want to understand complex systems. Then we have to move the diverse capabilities and facilities of our laboratory directly to the water, as in the case of the new MarGate underwater experimental field.” He personally has developed a large number of his ideas underwater, says Fischer. Scientists can, of course, also examine samples on shore or watch underwater video recordings. In the end, however, these recordings are always merely two-dimensional. “Anyone able to immerse himself/herself in the underwater world and conduct research directly in the water will develop a very different feeling and thus another understanding of the complex systems in the oceans.”

The AWI Centre for Scientific Diving was expanded by 90 m² altogether from approx. 280 m² to approx. 370 m² of useful area. After this expansion of the building there are now four offices, a meeting/common room and a resting room on the first floor. On the ground floor the sanitary areas were partitioned off and the technical building equipment was refurbished. Furthermore, new windows were installed, the outside walls were insulated and painted blue. A solar system on the roof provides for water heating. The complete revamping was supported by the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein with funding of 850,000 euros from Economic Stimulus Package II. The total costs come to approx. 1,150,000 euros.

All diving activities at the Alfred Wegener Institute are carried out according to the guidelines for scientific diving “GUV-R2112 – assignment of research divers”. As a certified training centre for scientific diving, the Alfred Wegener Institute is a member of the German professional association for scientific diving, “Kommission Forschungstauchen Deutschland e.V.“. Germany is a member of the European Scientific Diving Panel of the Marine Board of the European Science Foundation – a central organisation for the regulation of scientific diving in Europe. In accordance with the ESDP guidelines, the Alfred Wegener Institute provides training according to the European standards for “European Scientific Diver” and “Advanced European Scientific Diver”.

Notes for Editors

Event note: Opening of Centre for Scientific Diving, Am Binnenhafen, Helgoland on Thursday, 23 September 2010 from 10:30 am (to approx. 4:00 pm). Journalists are cordially invited to take part in the opening ceremony.

Your contacts at the Alfred Wegener Institute are Dr. Philipp Fischer (phone: 04725 819-3344; e-mail: Philipp.Fischer@awi.de) as well as in the Communication and Media Department Stephanie von Neuhoff (phone: 0471 4831-2008; e-mail: Stephanie.von.Neuhoff@awi.de).

The Alfred Wegener Institute conducts research in the Arctic, Antarctic and oceans of the high and mid 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 Antarctic. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of the sixteen research centres of the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organisation in Germany.

Margarete Pauls | idw
Further information:
http://www.awi.de

Further reports about: AWI Antarctic Predators Diving Helgoland Marine science Polarstern marine research

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersensitive through quantum entanglement

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders

28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>