Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The floating university – graduate school uses Polarstern cruise to Antarctic for training

27.10.2014

The expedition on the research vessel Polarstern starting on Saturday, 25 October 2014 focuses on training early-stage researchers. On board, 22 PhD and Master's students will learn how to use hydroacoustic measuring methods under real-life conditions.

The participants come from international courses at the University of Bremen and the POLMAR graduate school at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI). Five AWI scientists will train the students during a nine-day voyage to Las Palmas before the Polarstern continues to the Antarctic via Cape Town for research work.


The resarch ressel Polarstern leaves its homeport Bremerhaven (archive).

Photo: Folke Mehrtens / Alfred Wegener Institute

While still in Bremerhaven prior to the expedition, the students learned how to use the software and the hydroacoustic data from earlier expeditions. That means they can start measuring and evaluation work as soon as they set sail.

On the journey from Las Palmas (Canary Islands) to Cape Town, oceanographers will study biogeochemical interactions in the tropical ocean. They will also determine cloud, aerosol and water parameters and measure cosmic radiation.

Off the coast of Namibia, the expedition participants plan to recover a moored oceanographic instrument there that has been recording data, including the sounds made by whales, since November 2012. The aim of this study is to determine whether baleen whales calve here, an assumption that has not yet been conclusively proven.

Apart from this scientific work and training on board the Polarstern, the voyage from Bremerhaven to Cape Town provides the opportunity to calibrate instruments that will be used in the coming Antarctic research season.

At the beginning of December, RV Polarstern will leave Cape Town with new scientists for oceanographic research work. They will recover a large number of instruments moored in the Weddell Sea. This equipment measures temperature, current direction, current speed and other parameters, which will be analysed in international projects to help understand the circulation patterns of global ocean currents.

Also on board are sea ice physicists and biologists. They examine the thickness and composition of the sea ice as well as the quantity of light that can penetrate the ice into the water. This data is particularly interesting for biologists who research life in and under the ice. That is because algae photosynthesis, which forms the basis for the food chain, is only possible where there is light.

Another important function of this second expedition leg is to supply Neumayer Station III with material. The cruise leg will end in Punta Arenas, Chile after two months, at the beginning of February 2015.

Then, the Polarstern will set off from Punta Arenas and head for the Amundsen Sea for geoscientific work. In Pine Island Bay and off the Pine Island glacier, researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute and the MARUM Centre in Bremen plan to drill sediment cores with the MeBo seabed drilling system. These will help reconstructing the development and past dynamics of the western Antarctic ice sheet.

This ice sheet reacts very sensitively to climate change because a large part of its base is grounded below present sea level on the Antarctic land mass. The geoscientists are working to quantify glacier melting in warm periods of the geological past. Combined with the reconstruction of the climatic conditions, the data will provide parameters for ice sheet models intended to predict the future behaviour of the western Antarctic ice sheet and its contribution to sea level changes.

Another group of scientists will come on board in Punta Arenas in mid-March 2015, using the return trip northward across the Atlantic for atmospheric research. In addition, biologists will study the reactions of sub-Antarctic shrimps to oxygen depletion. The Polarstern is due back home in its homeport of Bremerhaven in April 2015.

Notes for Editors: Your contact person is Dr Folke Mehrtens, Dept. of Communications and Media Relations (phone +49 471 4831-2007; e-mail: Folke.Mehrtens@awi.de). Please find printable images on our website: http://www.awi.de/en/news/press_releases/

Follow the Alfred Wegener Institute on Twitter and Facebook. In this way you will receive all current news as well as information on brief everyday stories about life at the institute.

The Alfred Wegener Institute conducts research in the Arctic, Antarctic and in the high and mid-latitude oceans. The Institute coordinates German polar research and provides important infrastructure such as the research icebreaker Polarstern and research stations in the Arctic and Antarctic to the national and international scientific world. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of the 18 research centres of the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organisation in Germany.

Ralf Röchert | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Science Education:

nachricht Decision-making research in children: Rules of thumb are learned with time
19.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht Young people discover the "Learning Center"
20.09.2016 | Research Center Pharmaceutical Engineering GmbH

All articles from Science Education >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How gut bacteria can make us ill

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

On track to heal leukaemia

18.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle

17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>