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
Low sea-ice cover in the Arctic
13.09.2019 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
A precise chemical fingerprint of the Amazon
12.09.2019 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Later during this century, around 2060, a paradigm shift in global energy consumption is expected: we will spend more energy for cooling than for heating....
Researchers from the Department of Atomically Resolved Dynamics of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg, the University of Potsdam (both in Germany) and the University of Toronto (Canada) have pieced together a detailed time-lapse movie revealing all the major steps during the catalytic cycle of an enzyme. Surprisingly, the communication between the protein units is accomplished via a water-network akin to a string telephone. This communication is aligned with a ‘breathing’ motion, that is the expansion and contraction of the protein.
This time-lapse sequence of structures reveals dynamic motions as a fundamental element in the molecular foundations of biology.
Two research teams have succeeded simultaneously in measuring the long-sought Thorium nuclear transition, which enables extremely precise nuclear clocks. TU Wien (Vienna) is part of both teams.
If you want to build the most accurate clock in the world, you need something that "ticks" very fast and extremely precise. In an atomic clock, electrons are...
Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology have demonstrated a detector made from graphene that could revolutionize the sensors used in next-generation space telescopes. The findings were recently published in the scientific journal Nature Astronomy.
Beyond superconductors, there are few materials that can fulfill the requirements needed for making ultra-sensitive and fast terahertz (THz) detectors for...
A supersolid is a state of matter that can be described in simplified terms as being solid and liquid at the same time. In recent years, extensive efforts have been devoted to the detection of this exotic quantum matter. A research team led by Tilman Pfau and Tim Langen at the 5th Institute of Physics of the University of Stuttgart has succeeded in proving experimentally that the long-sought supersolid state of matter exists. The researchers report their results in Nature magazine.
In our everyday lives, we are familiar with matter existing in three different states: solid, liquid, or gas. However, if matter is cooled down to extremely...
10.09.2019 | Event News
04.09.2019 | Event News
29.08.2019 | Event News
16.09.2019 | Life Sciences
16.09.2019 | Materials Sciences
16.09.2019 | Health and Medicine