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					From the Seafloor
   to the Atmosphere
 Leibniz Institute
    of Marine Sciences
East Shore Campus                      West Shore Campus
Wischhofstr. 1-3                       Düsternbrooker Weg 20
D-24148 Kiel                           D-24105 Kiel

Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences   Tel.: + 49 - 431 600 - 0
IFM-GEOMAR                             Fax: + 49 - 431 600 - 2805

                                                                                   From the Seafloor
Welcome at IFM-GEOMAR!
                                                                                       to the Atmosphere
The foundation of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences IFM-GEOMAR
through the merger of the Institute for Marine Research (IFM) and the Research
Centre for Marine Geosciences (GEOMAR) in 2004 was clearly recognised as a
strategic decision on the national as well as on the international level. Today,
IFM-GEOMAR is one of the three leading marine research centres in Europe with
more than 500 employees and an annual budget in the order of 60 million Euros.

Outstanding observational infrastructure together with cutting-edge numerical
modelling enables IFM-GEOMAR scientists to set international standards for
                                                                                                  Prof. Dr. Peter M. Herzig
marine research. Four research vessels, large-scale seagoing equipment such as
the manned submersible JAGO, the unmanned deep-sea robots ROV KIEL 6000
and AUV ABYSS as well as state-of-the-art laboratories, analytical facilities, and
high-end computers provide a unique basis for excellent marine research. The
goal of the institute is to address key questions in marine sciences through inter-
disciplinary efforts in all relevant areas of oceanographic research, encompas-
sing the physical, chemical, biological, and geological processes in the oceans
and their interaction with the seafloor and the atmosphere.

IFM-GEOMAR is structured in four main research divisions: Ocean Circulation and
Climate Dynamics, Marine Biogeochemistry, Marine Ecology, and Dynamics of
the Ocean Floor. In addition, the institute plays a key role in the excellence clu-
ster ”The Future Ocean” and in two collaborative research centres of the
German Science Foundation (DFG). The institute boasts an international team of
scientists that places an emphasis on cross-fertilization between different areas
of research. Important topics in the marine sciences today are investigated in
interdisciplinary groups and from a broad range of perspectives. This is the hall-
mark of IFM-GEOMAR whose research programmes include both applied and
basic science. The second important pillar of IFM-GEOMAR is education. The
institute places a strong emphasis on promoting undergraduate and graduate
students in all disciplines of marine sciences. This well-founded education ena-
bles the new generation of scientists to meet future challenges not only in
marine research, but in topics that will become increasingly important to socie-
ty as a whole.
This brochure will introduce you to the diverse aspects of our research and will
hopefully raise your interest for the particular importance of marine sciences in
the 21st century.

Yours sincerely,

                                                Prof. Dr. Peter M. Herzig
                                                Direktor des IFM-GEOMAR

The Leibniz Association
The Leibniz Association presently encompasses more than 80 research institutes and servi-
ce centres in Germany. The tasks and responsibilities of these institutes are of supra-regio-
nal interest. Research results are applied in national and state policy development; hence
the Leibniz institutes are supported by both federal and state funds. The areas of research
range from space and economic sciences to natural, engineering and environmental scien-
ces. The common goal of the organizations is to work on an interdisciplinary basis and on
demand. The Leibniz institutes consider themselves partners of scientific institutions, the
industry, as well as federal and state authorities. Their cooperation with universities is par-
ticularly close and intensive.
More information can be found at:

           R ESEARCH D IVISION 1
                 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics
    Understanding the ocean's role in our climate is the central goal of the research division Ocean Circulation and
    Climate Dynamics. Interdisciplinary work spanning the four fields of Paleo-Oceanography, Physical Oceanography,
    Maritime Meteorology and Theory and Modelling is a particular strength of this department. The expertise inclu-
    des large-scale and process-oriented modelling, sea-going capabilities for studying the dynamics of the present-
    day system, and paleo-oceanographic studies of past climate conditions. Oceanographic, geological and meteo-
    rological data are combined with satellite observations to develop models of complex ocean-atmosphere

    A sediment core from the Arctic Ocean gives insight
    to 150,000 years of climate history. The dark layers
    document colder climate phases, the light layers
    were formed during warm periods.

    The Earth's Seafloor Diary                             layer, akin to a chapter in history, has cap-     The ocean harbours a further climatic
    ”The past is the key to understanding                  tured information about environmental             archive in addition to seafloor sediments.
    both the present and the future” is an                 conditions during the time of formation.          Coral reefs, both deep-sea and shallow-
    axiom that also applies to our climate.                Together the chapters form a book that            water, also represent a valuable source of
    However, from what source can we draw                  can reveal the history of our climate.            information about the past. Similar to
    information about intervals in Earth's                 On board research ships, the scientists of        tree rings, coral organisms grow in
    history during which no instruments for                the Paleo-Oceanography research unit              annual increments and their skeletal
    measurement existed, nor people to                     use specialized drilling instruments to           deposits record different environmental
    apply them? Fortunately, the climate on                recover cores of seafloor sediments. Con-          parameters. Paleo-oceanographers use
    our planet has kept a diary on the bottom              ditions that prevailed during times long          time-related data from corals and sedi-
    of the ocean. Organisms and other parti-               past such as oxygen level, temperature or         ment cores to reconstruct the history not
    cles have rained down from the surface to              biological productivity can be discerned          only of the Earth's climate, but also of the
    the seafloor and built up layer upon layer              in the sedimentary cross-sections of the          ocean itself.
    of sediment over millions of years. Every              seafloor.

                                The Research Vessels
                                The fleet of research ships at IFM-GEOMAR is essential for fulfilling the primary mission of the institute, namely the investi-
                                gation of oceanic processes. The institute operates four ships of different sizes. The largest are the two mid-sized research
                                vessels POSEIDON and ALKOR. The POSEIDON is used for longer expeditions to the North Atlantic, the Norwegian Sea and
                                occasionally the Mediterranean and Black Sea.
                                The ALKOR is primarily used for research in the North and Baltic Seas, as well as in the Kattegat and Skagerrak areas. Some-
                                times the ALKOR is implemented for student training courses. While the state of Schleswig-Holstein is the legal owner of the
                                larger ships of the fleet POSEIDON and ALKOR, the small research cutter LITTORINA belongs to the University of Kiel. The
                                ship works mainly in the western Baltic and is used for coastal research and student courses. The smallest of the ships is the
                                POLARFUCHS. The boat is used for studies in the Kiel Fjord and Bight.

                                                            Release of an acoustic source used to track
                                                           down free drifting instruments in the ocean.

The Glider: an autonomous measurement platform for the ocean.

                                               The ”CTD” is the work horse of physical oceanographers.
                                               The instrument is used to measure important parameters
                                                          such as conductivity, temperature, and depth.

The Engine for Oceanic Currents                     masses sink in the sub-polar North Atlan-             scale circulation of water masses. Using
The water masses of the ocean are in con-           tic, flow as a deep current southwards                 re-search vessels, drifting buoys or moo-
stant motion, driven by wind, mechanical            and thereby act as a thermal conveyer.                rings, physical oceanographers measure
mixing and surface buoyancy forces. The             Because these sinking processes are                   many parameters such as currents, salini-
path of the currents around the globe               potentially unstable, they represent the              ty and temperature at different depths.
and their depth is mainly determined by             Achilles heel for the transport of warm               IFM-GEOMAR is also involved in the
temperature, salinity and the topography            water masses to Northern Europe. If the               search for new instruments and technolo-
of the seafloor. Thus, global climate               thermal conveyer weakens, the impact on               gies and the support of their manufactu-
influences the movement of water masses              the climate in Northern Europe could be               re. A current example is the so-called
in the world's oceans, and the currents in          strong. In view of this critical and poten-           glider: a new device that moves like a sail-
turn affect climatic processes on both              tially unstable processes, the physical oce-          plane through the ocean. Controlled via
global and regional scales. The Physical            anographers have focussed on understan-               telecommunication, gliders are used in
Oceanography research unit investigates             ding this key area of the Atlantic. The               coastal areas or launched from research
the multifaceted processes that drive oce-          second area of interests are the Tropics,             vessels, delivering subsurface data several
anic currents.                                      where rapid ocean atmosphere interac-                 times a day. In Europe, IFM-GEOMAR was
The near-surface currents of the North              tions occur. Here and in other areas                  the first institute that used such an instru-
Atlantic transporting thermal energy                around the globe, the prime goal is to                ment.
from the tropics have a strong influence             discern the extent to which climatic or
on the climate in Europe. These water               oceanic processes influence the large-

Research vessels are swimming high-tech laboratories. They offer the facilities necessary to conduct modern oceanographic
research. These include special biological, geological, geophysical, chemical, physical, and meteorological research equip-
ment and data instruments, as well as cold rooms, cranes, winches and laboratories. In addition, the ships must offer suffi-
cient space for the crew and scientists to lead a relatively comfortable life on board, since some expeditions span several
weeks or even months. The oceanographers of IFM-GEOMAR participate not only on cruises on their own fleet, but also on
expeditions aboard other German or foreign research vessels. In this way, the ships can remain in a more restricted area of
operation and costly transit cruises can be avoided. Internationally, the largest and most well-known ships also used by IFM-
GEOMAR scientists are the SONNE, the METEOR, the MARIA S. MERIAN and the POLARSTERN.
4                       R ESEARCH D IVISION 1

    The Computer as a Laboratory
    Field data allows conclusions about the behaviour of oceanic currents, which are limited to
    the time and location of the measurement. When fed into a computer model, however, the
    data points deliver a foundation for interpreting past and future current variations.

    Scientists in the research unit Theory und
    Modelling have developed numerical
    simulations of current motions on time
    scales from weeks to thousands of years,
    and on spatial scales ranging from regio-
    nal to global. The highly complex compu-
    ter ”lab experiments” deliver a quantita-
    tive analysis of the complex interactions
    between atmosphere and ocean currents.
    Combined with field observations, scien-
    tists can use the computer models to eva-
    luate processes such as the conditions
    under which the Gulf Stream system
    could become unstable. The more para-
    meters and processes are integrated into
    the model, the more precise the simula-
    tion. Newer models incorporate interac-
    tions such as those between currents and
    marine ecosystems, thus providing a
    more accurate picture of oceanic proces-

    A previously unknown phenomenon was
    discovered by oceanographers from IFM-
    GEOMAR along the coast of Brazil. Mea-
    surements at a depth of 2000 metres
    revealed large eddies rather than the
    expected calm and uniform deep current.
    Computer models showed that these
    eddies can only develop when the deep
    coastal current is sufficiently strong. This
    deep current is considered to be one of
    the engines for the Gulf Stream system.
    The water masses are formed in the sub-
    polar region of the North Atlantic and                  Simulation of the North Brazil Undercurrent, the deep
    flow southwards to the Antarctic. The                    western boundary current off the coast of Brazil.
    modellers consider the eddies as indica-
    tors for the strength of the engine.
    Should the engine slacken the deeper
    eddies would also wane.

    SONNE                                          METEOR                                                MARIA S. MERIAN

The Ocean as a Kitchen for our Climate           Azores high pressure and the Iceland low-     weeks to extrapolations of several hund-
The scientists in the Maritime Meteorolo-        pressure systems, a process that has a cru-   red years. Of particular interest is the
gy research unit also investigate the inter-     cial effect on winter weather conditions      question of the anthropogenic influence
actions between the ocean and the                in Europe. To address these questions         on the Earth's climate. Can the recent
atmosphere. Above all they focus on the          both qualitatively and quantitatively, the    increase in natural catastrophes such as
atmospheric response to oceanic proces-          meteorologists at IFM-GEOMAR collect          floods, tornadoes and heat waves be
ses. Current studies are seeking answers         data at sea and integrate this information    explained by ”normal” climatic fluctua-
to questions such as: When and where do          with satellite observations.                  tions, or are we already observing the
clouds originate, how large is the thermal                                                     consequences of human activity? Scien-
exchange between the ocean and the               The combined data is fed into computer        tists at IFM-GEOMAR are involved in
atmosphere, and to what depth does               models that are used to depict the deve-      many national and international research
solar radiation penetrate? A further focus       lopment of the climate on regional and        projects that focus on these and other
is the study of the role of the Atlantic         global scales during different time inter-    questions.
Ocean in the alternation between the             vals. The time scales range from a few

                     Cameras document cloud patterns above the ocean – a helpful
                     tool for the interpretation of meteorological measurements.

                              R ESEARCH D IVISION 2
                                   Marine Biogeochemistry                                     The Marine Biogeochemistry division
                                                                                              investigates material transfers within
                                                      and between the ocean, the atmosphere, seafloor sediments and marine
                                                      organisms. The oceanographers in that division focus in particular on proces-
                                                      ses within the boundary layers between the atmosphere, the ocean and the
                                                      sediments. At these interfaces, there is a highly dynamic exchange of ele-
                                                      ments and compounds. Advanced methods and models are developed
                                                      through interdisciplinary cooperation between the research units Marine
                                                      Geosystems, Chemical Oceanography, Biological Oceanography and Biogeo-
                                                      chemical Modelling.
                                                      These tools are applied to improve understanding of oceanic element cycles
                                                      of the past and present, as well as to allow for informed extrapolations into
                                                      the future.

    Lander systems developed at IFM-GEOMAR enable long-term
    observations and experiments in the deep ocean.

                                                       The Technology and Logistics Centre
                                                       The Technology and Logistics Centre (TLC) houses the seagoing technical personal and instrumen-
                                                       tal capacities. In the central workshops new instruments are developed, built and tested. Further-
                                                       more, the technical personal prepare ship-based expeditions and their equipment such as the
                                                       manned submersible JAGO, the deep-sea robots ROV KIEL 6000 and AUV ABYSS, gliders, ocean
                                                       bottom seismometers, the lander and the mesocosm fleet. About 45 staff members ensure smooth
                                                       and successful missions on the worldwide expeditions of IFM-GEOMAR.

Gas Hydrates:                                      groups investigate processes of exchange
Energy Source or Climate Killer?                   between organisms, sediments and sea-
When scientists from IFM-GEOMAR disco-             water. These involve major and trace ele-
vered the largest underwater occurrence            ments and their isotopes, as well as gases
of gas hydrates in the Pacific Ocean off            such as methane and carbon dioxide.
the Oregon coast in 1996, spectacular              State-of-the-art ”Benthic Lander” techno-
images of the flammable material were               logy is developed at IFM-GEOMAR and is
shown around the world. Gas hydrates               used to conduct long-term observations
are ice-like compounds in which gas                and experiments on the sea floor at
molecules, such as methane, are trapped            depths of up to 6000 metres. Geochemi-
inside a cage of water molecules. They             cal analyses conducted on board research
evolve naturally through complex proces-           vessels deliver immediate information
ses in sediments at continental shelves            about gas content and seawater composi-
and in Arctic permafrost. More than 160            tion. Subsequently, stable, radiogenic and
cubic metres of gas can be stored in one           radioactive isotopes can be determined                            A picture that went around the world:
cubic metre of hydrate. Estimates of               by high precision mass spectrometry on                            gas hydrates or ”burning ice” in the hands of
marine methane hydrate reserves are                shore.                                                            IFM-GEOMAR scientists.
comparable to the magnitude of known
exploitable fossil energy reservoirs such as
coal, oil and gas. Methane gas hydrates
therefore represent a potential energy
source for the future. If released into the
atmosphere, however, methane acts as a
powerful greenhouse gas and would aug-
ment global warming. It is presently
unclear to what extent these vast reserves
of methane may be susceptible to clima-
te-related change within the future
ocean. IFM-GEOMAR has become one of
the leading institutes world-wide in the
study of the evolution and behaviour of
marine gas hydrates. The knowledge
gained is essential for a well-grounded
assessment of the advantages and disad-
vantages in their use as an energy re-
source, as well as the potential risks asso-
ciated with a changing ocean.
Understanding the formation of gas
hydrates is only one of several topics
being pursued by the research unit
Marine Geosystems. Another main focus
is the study of sediments, rocks and other
natural archives of past climate and envi-
ronmental change. Different working                         View inside a high-resolution mass spectrometer used to simultaneously
                                                            detect different isotope signals in minute samples.

The Lithothek
The Lithothek holds a collection of more than 9,000 metres of split sediment core samples, of which
4,900 metres are part of the Red Sea, the so-called PREUSSAG collection. The institute also archives
hard rock samples, corals and pore water samples. A portion of the sediment cores is in cold sto-
rage to ensure preservation of sensitive sections of the record. Samples are generally available for
research and, to a limited extent, for educational purposes and museum displays. A group of tech-
nicians is specifically delegated to processing incoming and outgoing sediment cores and samples.
They ensure proper archiving of the material using a data bank.
The Lithothek has a facility for high resolution logging of marine sediments to obtain information
about physical properties, the so-called multiple-sensor split core logger (MSCL). The core labora-
tory also permits digital core photography, measurements on sediments, sampling and description
of cores and the processing of samples.
8                       R ESEARCH D IVISION 2

    A Shift in the Ocean-Atmosphere Equilibrium
    The global ocean and the atmosphere have exchanged
    elements and compounds over vast periods of time. The
    atmospheric concentration of many important gases
    that affect climate is, in turn, strongly influenced by the
    respective oceanic concentration.

                                                                             Samples can be collected at different depths with the rosette water sampler.

    For CO2, the ocean plays the role of an        directly or indirectly. Atmospheric carbon
    enormous chemical buffer: It damps             dioxide from fossil fuels, for example, dis-
    changes in its concentration and hence         solves in the upper layers of the ocean,
    changes in climate over geological time.       which leads to a reduction in the green-
    However, the sudden onset of anthropo-         house effect. Nitrous oxide (laughing gas
    genic pollution of the atmosphere is cau-      or N2O), on the other hand, is released
    sing a major shift in this natural balance     into the atmosphere.
    and at the same time a significant reduc-       This compound not only reinforces the
    tion in the buffering ability of the ocean.    greenhouse effect, but also damages the
    Scientists in the research division Chemi-     ozone layer. The out-gassing of several
    cal Oceanography focus on understan-           halogen compounds such as bromoform
    ding the chemical equilibrium between          and methyl iodide, which are sometimes
    the ocean and the atmosphere in the            produced by the plankton, represents an
    past, as well as the role the ocean plays in   additional natural attack on atmospheric
    determining present-day changes in the         ozone. Certain trace metals such as iron
    composition of the atmosphere. With this       exert their influence on climate 'behind
    knowledge, they can help to predict            the scenes'. Iron, for example, is an essen-
    future shifts in ocean-atmosphere equili-      tial nutrient for phytoplankton and its
    brium as a result of global change. More       low concentration can limit productivity.
    broadly, the chemical oceanographers           Reduced plankton productivity due to
    study the distribution of substances           nutrient limitation leads to a decline in
    within the present-day ocean, with an          the oceanic uptake of carbon dioxide,
    emphasis on the exchange of elements           representing an indirect pathway by
    and compounds with the atmosphere and          which trace metal concentrations can
                                                                                                          High-tech labs for CO2 measurements in all ocean basins on
    marine organisms.                              affect the climate system.
                                                                                                          the commercial vessel FALSTAFF (above) and the research
                                                                                                          vessel METEOR (below).
    Different working groups investigate the
    oceanic element cycles of carbon, nitro-
    gen, halogens and trace metals, all of
    which can influence the Earth's climate

Barely visible to the naked eye: plankton                                                             Labs in the ocean:
                                                                                                      enclosures known as mesocosms are used to
                                                                                                      simulate different environmental conditions.

Plankton: Small yet significant                   The biological oceanographers at IFM-               The Future Ocean
Phytoplankton and zooplankton, the                GEOMAR conduct both laboratory and                  Environmental changes caused by
microscopic plants and animals that float          field experiments to investigate the role            humans are having a significant impact
in the water column, build the base of the        of plankton in oceanic and global ele-              on the ocean. Increasing CO2 concentra-
oceanic food chain. The organisms, their          ment cycles. In addition to gathering data          tions, for example, are leading to a decli-
excretions and their remains deliver              about the ocean of today, it is the                 ne in seawater pH to levels that have not
nutrients for the majority of life forms in       question of the behaviour of plankton in            existed for at least 20 million years. As a
the sea. Most plankton species inhabit            the future that is of great importance.             result, the world's oceans are becoming
the upper layers of the ocean, which are          Anthropogenic changes in the environ-               increasingly acidic with major consequen-
permeated by light. Phytoplankton takes           ment, especially the increase in atmos-             ces for their living inhabitants. However,
up carbon dioxide, nitrogen and other             pheric greenhouse gases, are expected to            this is only one of a number of changes
elements to produce organic matter by             have a significant impact on the ocean               observed by oceanographers during the
way of photosynthesis. The trace metal            and its ecosystems. Molecular genetics is           last few years. Field studies reveal altera-
iron, which is carried into the ocean by          applied to gain information about cellu-            tions in oceanic currents, temperature,
desert dust, can be a limiting factor for         lar changes in planktonic organisms and             and oxygen content, to name but a few.
phytoplankton growth. Of particular sig-          their sensitivity to the altered availability       At this time, it is impossible to foresee all
nificance for the Earth's climate is the           of nutrients. Large-scale experiments               consequences for marine ecosystems.
ability of phytoplankton to take up CO2,          using so-called mesocosms, large enclosu-           Observational data concerning individual
thus increasing the flux of this greenhou-         res in which scientists simulate the ocean          processes, chemical distributions and
se gas from the atmosphere to the ocean.          of the future, are used to observe the              organisms are collected by the Biogeo-
One of the most urgent issues being               effects of changing environmental condi-            chemical Modelling unit and integrated
addressed by the research unit Biological         tions on plankton productivity and bio-             into computer models. By this means, the
Oceanography is the question of how               geochemical cycling. A new direction of             scientists of the different research units of
phytoplankton productivity changes with           research for biologists at IFM-GEOMAR is            the research division Marine Biogeoche-
respect to increasing levels of CO2 in the        the study of the biological processes of            mistry are able to combine their insights
modern ocean.                                     trace gas production.                               and peer forward into the ocean of the

Submersibles and underwater vehicles
Research submersibles and remotely operated vehicles are the spacecrafts of the ocean. Their con-
struction and operation are both costly and technically challenging. JAGO, the only manned research
submersible in Germany, is based at IFM-GEOMAR. It operates to a depth of 400 metres and provides
space for two people. JAGO can be used to investigate a wide range of research topics being con-
ducted at IFM-GEOMAR. For instance, JAGO facilitates research on gas hydrates, hydrothermal
systems on the ocean floor, as well as cold-water corals and other marine ecosystems.
In order to explore greater depths scientists use unmanned underwater vehicles: the ROV KIEL 6000,
a remotely operated vehicle, and the autonomous underwater vehicle AUV ABYSS. Both can opera-
te up to 6000 metres thus able to investigate more than 90 per cent of the ocean floor.

            Marine Ecology                                                    Shipping, excessive fertilization, pollution, commercial fish-
                                                                              ing and, last but not least, global climate change, have far-
                                                                              reaching effects on marine ecosystems. Scientists are obser-
                                                                              ving not only shifts in the geographic distribution of marine
                                                                              species and the disappearance of species, but also signifi-
                                                                              cant changes in seasonal activity and growth patterns. This
                                                                              can lead to temporal and spatial uncoupling between sensi-
                                                                              tive supply and demand relationships within oceanic food
                                                                              webs. In some cases however, physiological or genetic
                                                                              adaptation in species can reduce some of these detrimental
                                                                              effects. In the Marine Ecology division, the research units
                                                                              Marine Microbiology, Experimental Ecology and Evolutiona-
                                                                              ry Ecology of Marine Fishes investigate the impact of fishe-
                                                                              ries and changing environmental conditions on the struc-
                                                                              ture and response of entire food webs, the interactions
                                                                              among species and the dynamics and genetics of individual
           Active Substances produced by the ”orange puffball”, a             populations and communities.
           species of sponge, are being investigated by IFM-GEOMAR
           scientists for potential medicinal applications.

     Medicine from the Sea                             cooperation with suppliers of pharmaceu-             can even affect global change processes.
     Running away does not belong to their             tical companies. The microbiologists iso-            Various working groups in the Marine
     survival strategies - in more than 40 mil-        late the natural elixirs from organisms              Microbiology research unit investigate
     lion years of evolution sponges have              such as sponges, hence making them                   different capabilities of bacteria in both
     developed other, highly effective mecha-          available for manifold applications in               laboratory and field studies using
     nisms of defence. In symbiosis with bacte-        modern medicine.                                     methods such as DNA-analyses. This ena-
     ria they produce antibodies which can                                                                  bles a better understanding of the pro-
     ward off both predators and diseases.             Scientists at IFM-GEOMAR focus not only              cesses prevailing in different microbial
     Today, the pharmacological industry is            on the role of bacteria in the production            communities.
     very interested in the arsenal of substan-        of sponge antibodies, but also on the
     ces generated by sponges. Through a               behaviour of many other micro-orga-
     better understanding of the composition           nisms. Highly specialised bacteria can be
     and capabilities of these unique products,        found in almost all oceanic ecosystems.
     scientists hope to gain valuable insights         They play an important role in oceanic
     for the development of new and effective          food webs and element cycles. Through
     medicines against diseases such as cancer.        their influence on the transformation of
     For this purpose, the Marine Microbiolo-          greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide
     gy unit at IFM-GEOMAR is working in               and methane, marine micro-organisms

                                                        The Library
                                                        The IFM-GEOMAR library is one of the largest marine science libraries in Germany. With an exten-
                                                        sive collection of books and periodicals (132,000 media items, 750 open serial titles), a special col-
                                                        lection of historical works and rare monographs, the library of IFM-GEOMAR enjoys international
                                                        recognition. Its homepage offers full text access to more than 600 online e-journals, books and
                                                        databases. The library itself provides a number of services including comprehensive reference-sec-
                                                        tion assistance and training in databank use, circulation services and a digital processing centre for
                                                        copying, scanning and graphic design.
                                                        The library participates in the Linking Libraries Project, whose aim is to facilitate resource sharing
                                                        among marine and aquatic science libraries worldwide. The libraries at the east and the west shore
                                                        campus of IFM-GEOMAR serve pupils from schools all over the state of Schleswig-Holstein and are
                                                        also open to the general public.

To Eat and be Eaten
Nutrient enrichment of seawater during
winter leads to blooms of phytoplankton
in the spring. The microscopic algae build
the base of the food chain. They are the
source of sustenance for zooplankton.
Supply and demand within food webs
have developed to a well-synchronized
balance over millions of years. However,
is it possible that global change and asso-
ciated warmer winters can disturb this
sensitive equilibrium? This is only one of
the many questions being addressed by
the Experimental Ecology research unit.
Both phytoplankton and phytobenthos,
plants living at the bottom of the sea,
form the base of complex food webs.
Invertebrate animals occupy intermedia-
te positions, while large fish and marine
mammals are at the top trophic level.
Also at the very top of the food web are
human beings.                                 A special net is used to collect zooplankton and small fish.
12                       R ESEARCH D IVISION 3

             The working groups of the Experimental Ecology unit attempt
             to discern the complex relationships within the planktonic
             and benthic communities in order to identify the structure of
             oceanic food webs. The scientists investigate aspects such as
             who is predator, who is prey, which organism protects others,
             who profits from changes through adaptation and who suf-
             fers drawbacks?

     The role of chemical interactions bet-
     ween organisms is of growing interest
     since scientists discovered that many
     relationships are controlled by highly
     effective defence and alarm substances.
     Experimental ecologists also focus incre-
     asingly on the question of the anthropo-
     genic influence on marine ecosystems. In
     both laboratory and field studies, they
     manipulate environmental parameters
     of planktonic and benthic communities
     to simulate observed changes in the
     ocean. The resulting effects on individu-
     al species and the community as a whole
     are documented and analysed. A further
     line of research is the study of the impact
     of imported species on ecosystems, as
     well as the identification of conditions
     leading to mass proliferations of certain
     algal species or jellyfish. The results of
     these studies enable an early identifica-
     tion of ecosystem changes and the pre-
     diction of future developments.
     The priority programme AQUASHIFT of
     the German Research Foundation (DFG)
     is part of the Experimental Ecology unit.
     The main focus of this programme is the
     study of the impact of climate variability
     on aquatic ecosystems.

                                                                             The largest data bank for fish species worldwide is coordinated
                                                                             by scientists at IFM-GEOMAR. Currently, FishBase includes
                                                                             about 30,000 scientific species and 210,000 colloquial names.
                                                                             Evolutionary Ecologists of Marine Fishes from numerous
                                                                             marine research institutes all over the world have contributed
                                                                             to this project.
                                                                             More information can be obtained at:

Evolution in ”Action”                                methods. Evolution processes can develop          and have a strong emphasis on the North
Almost 30,000 species of fish exist world-            within few generations to a measurable            and Baltic Sea. Ecological processes are
wide and about 18,000 of them are salt-              ”evolution in action”. In particular, this is     studied in the field and, for fish species
water species. Of these, only about one              true for ”host-parasite” interactions,            amenable to experimentation, in meso-
hundred are relevant to commercial fish-              where an arms race between fish hosts              cosms or aquaria. The results from the
ing, yet their potential as a food supply            and parasites can be observed. Immune             research unit Evolutionary Ecology of
is being threatened by extreme reduc-                defence by the host is countered by the           Marine Fishes will build the conceptional
tions in their stock. Excessive commercial           parasite ability to infect and exploit. In        basis for a sustainable management of
fishing is threatening not only fish such as           the face of global climate change, a              fish stocks. In addition, the scientists will
herring, cod and sole - the entire marine            highly relevant question is whether or            deliver urgently needed data of genetic
food chain is strongly impaired in many              not host or parasite will profit from the          adaptability of species and of damaging
areas of the ocean.                                  increasing environmental stress, and              impacts caused by parasites and epide-
Simultaneously, the usage of fish by                 whether some very virulent parasites will         mics.
humans has led to genetic changes in the             spread in certain areas.
fish population such as earlier sexual               Other working areas are the effects of
maturity or slower growth. The Evolutio-             ocean acidification on early life stages,
nary Ecology of Marine Fishes analyses               the ecology of fish larvae and the func-
the selection factors and the genetic basis          tion of cephalops (e.g. squids) and fish in
of the observed changes using state-of-              the marine food web. The research activi-
the-art genomic and transcriptomic                   ties concentrate on the North Atlantic

Fishermen with a catch of tuna on the Cape Verde islands. The impression of abundance is misleading:           Algae in the basin of an integrated
in many areas of the ocean tuna stocks have been greatly reduced due to excessive commercial fishing.           circulation system.

The Data and Computer Centre
The data and computer centre of IFM-GEOMAR is responsible for administering and operating all
central compute, application and file servers. The computer specialists have interconnected more
than 500 workstations and ensure the web security for all employees. Furthermore, they have esta-
blished access to the high-speed net of the University of Kiel to carry out high performance com-
putations. The computing staff is also responsible for managing the large data bases collected by
the scientists of IFM-GEOMAR, as well as the web site of the institute. The hardware includes com-
puters of all sizes, ranging from supercomputers to PCs.

               Dynamics of the Ocean Floor
 Vast mountain chains, deep canyons, spouting volcanoes and black smokers ˆ these are the topographic elements that
 characterize the seafloor, more than two thirds of the surface area of our planet. The outer layer of the Earth is a rela-
 tively thin crust that ”floats” on a hot and plastic mantle. This crust comprises many individual plates that are in con-
 stant motion relative to one another. At their boundaries, plates can drift apart, collide or move past each other, there-
 by forming new crust, destroying crust or deforming it.
 Earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis are the ”side effects” of these plate movements. These tectonic and volcanic pro-
 cesses at plate boundaries also influence our lives indirectly. For example, gases released from the sea can interact with
 the atmosphere and thereby influence the global climate. In the division Dynamics of the Ocean Floor, the research
 units Geodynamics and Magmatic and Hydrothermal systems investigate the geophysical, geochemical, hydrothermal
 and volcanic processes that occur at the bottom of the ocean.

 Relief map of the Pacific coast off
 Costa Rica and Nicaragua. The tracks
 indicate areas of the subduction
 zone mapped with multibeam echo
 sounder by IFM-GEOMAR scientists.

                                            Co-operative Research Efforts
                                            Institutes working individually can no longer meet the challenges in modern marine science. In all
                                            disciplines of oceanography, the concerted effort of specialists from all over the world is required
                                            in order to find answers to today's global problems. IFM-GEOMAR participates in many of these
                                            national and international projects ranging from the promotion of graduate students to the esta-
                                            blishment of a worldwide network of ocean observatories and the shared use of research vessels.
                                            The most important partners of IFM-GEOMAR in Europe include the French national institute IFRE-
                                            MER (Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer) and the NOCS (National Ocean-
                                            ography Centre Southampton), Great Britain. With these two partners a Memorandum of Under-
                                            standing was signed in 2008. In addition, IFM-GEOMAR is a member of the European Marine Board
                                            of the European Science Foundation.

Plates in Motion                                   deployed in order. Some of these instru-
The dynamic processes on the seafloor               ments, such as the ocean bottom seismo-
usually take place unaware to us. Occa-            meter and the ocean bottom hydropho-
sionally, spectacular or catastrophic              ne, were developed at IFM-GEOMAR.
events remind us of the seething earth             New pressure sensors which can be
beneath our feet. The results of the               anchored on the seafloor can be used to
powerful forces unleashed during such              detect earthquakes but can also be incor-
events are visible everywhere: parts of            porated into early warning systems for
the Himalayas, for example, comprise               tsunamis. In addition to these research
oceanic crust that was folded and thrust           projects, the Geodynamics research unit is
upwards about 65 million years ago. A              involved in large-scale mapping of the
recent example with tragic consequences            seafloor using side-scan sonar. Specialized
is the tsunami that flooded the coasts of           software is applied to process the data
Southeast Asia on 26 December 2004,                and to produce bathymetric maps. These
causing the death of hundreds of thou-             three-dimensional depictions of the sea-
sands people. The giant wave was trig-             floor deliver images of areas on our
gered by an earthquake deep below the              planet that are normally hidden to our
Indian Ocean. The epicentre could be               eyes.
localised at a subduction zone, a plate
boundary at which one plate is thrust
beneath the other. As the two plates col-
                                                                                                            An ocean bottom seismometer (OBS) developed by
lide, tension increases until one plate
                                                                                                            IFM-GEOMAR to measure seismic waves.
”slips” past the other in a sudden move-
ment. The energy thus released can lead
to earthquakes, underwater landslides
and tsunamis.

Scientists of the Geodynamics research
unit investigate seafloor processes at
active and passive continental margins.
Subduction zones are tectonically active
and can be found in Southeast Asia and
around the entire Pacific Ocean in a zone
known as the ”Ring of Fire”. Passive con-
tinental margins, on the other hand, are
located around the Atlantic Ocean. In
order to collect data on seafloor seismic
activity different instruments can be

                                                                A bathymetric map of a segment of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. At this plate
                                                                boundary, the African and South American Plates are pushed apart by
                                                                the formation of new ocean floor.

The ”Konsortium Deutsche Meeresforschung”
Founded in 2003 the ”Konsortium Deutsche Meeresforschung” (KDM) or German Marine Research
Consortium focuses the interests of German marine research and represents its members in natio-
nal and European political forums, as well as in the general public. A further goal is the strategic
planning and coordination of research projects in all disciplines, as well as the coordination and
long-term planning of investments in the fleet of research vessels and major oceanographic equip-
ment. The consortium operates a permanent office in Berlin and has 13 members.
More information can be found at:
 16                         R ESEARCH D IVISION 4

Recycling of Oceanic Crust
New oceanic crust is constantly
being produced along huge cracks
in the depths of the ocean which
are formed when tectonic plates
move apart. Magma that was
formed deep in the mantle rises
through these cracks and, when
cooled, builds new oceanic crust. By
this process, the seafloor is con-
stantly being renewed at these
divergent plate margins. The mar-
gins extend for about 60 thousand
kilometres along the peaks of
underwater      mountain     chains
known as mid-ocean ridges.

           Massive sulfides from the PACMANUS
            hydrothermal fields off the coast of
                             Papua New Guinea.

                                                         Since the Earth is not expanding, the production of
                                                         new crust in some areas leads inevitably to the
                                                         destruction of crust in subduction zones, where the
                                                         oceanic crust is recycled into the mantle. This sea-
                                                         floor conveyor belt that leads to the recycling of oce-
                                                         anic crust is the focus of the Magmatic and Hydro-
                                                         thermal Systems research unit.

An IFM-GEOMAR scientist sampling gas from
the Pacaya Volcano in Guatemala to analyze
its composition.

                                                  1 mm   Colorful microscopic image of seafloor basalt.

Geologists at IFM-GEOMAR collect rock samples in order to
determine their volcanic history through volcanological, geo-
chemical and dating analyses. Also, they interpret the trans-
port and eruption mechanisms during their genesis. There are
many different means of rock sampling, both shipboard and
from research submersibles. In the laboratories back on shore,
the scientists analyse the chemical composition of the rocks
using mass spectrometers, x-ray fluorescence and other high
tech methods. This information builds a foundation not only
for understanding processes of crustal formation, but also for
understanding the geologic evolution of our planet.

                                                                 Due to modern technology, the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV)
                                                                 ABYSS can perform high resolution sea-floor mapping, take photos
                                                                 and other measurements in water depths up to 6,000 metres.

Hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor:                            The ROV KIEL 6000 is the most advanced remotely controlled underwater vehicle
a white smoker in the Southwest Pacific at 1,700 meters depth.    world-wide. It can take video-controlled observations, measurements and samples
                                                                 in water depths up to 6,000 metres. Thus, the remotely controlled vehicle can
                                                                 reach more than 90% of all sea floors.

The Excellence Cluster ”The Future Ocean”
Who owns the ocean? What are the consequences of the increasing acidification of the world ocean? Can marine organisms help us to
defend severe diseases? These are only some topics which are currently investigated in the excellence cluster ”The Future Ocean”. Since
2006, 13 new research groups located at the Christian-Albrechts University, IFM-GEOMAR and the Institute for the World Economy have
been investigating the opportunities and risks of the future ocean. Another partner of the 5-year programme is the Muthesius School of
Fine Arts which supports the cluster in terms of public relation and communication through creative exhibitions.

SFB 574: Volatiles and Fluids in Subduction Zones:
Climate Feedback and Trigger Mechanisms for Natural Disasters

The subduction process at convergent plate margins triggers a varie-
ty of natural hazards including high-magnitude earthquakes, explo-
sive volcanic eruptions, landslides and tsunamis. Volatiles such as
water, carbon dioxide, sulphur and chlorine are released from the
subducting plate into the overlying mantle generating volatile-rich
magmas that rise to the surface. The volatiles are emitted into the
atmosphere during volcanic eruptions and can thus affect the clima-
te, even on a global scale.
Since 2001, SFB 574 has investigated the impacts of volatiles and fluids
on the climate and natural disasters. Off- and on-shore studies provi-
de a coherent picture of how diverse subduction processes are inter-
related and how the system as a whole functions. New data, for
example of volcanic gas fluxes, are now being incorporated into cli-
mate simulations. A major new focus of SFB 574 is the hazard assess-
ment of two of Latin America's most active volcanoes (Llaima and Vil-
                                                                                        The oceanic plate is subducted beneath the continental margin off Costa
larrica in Chile), which is contributing to the establishment of early                  Rica, thereby releasing volatiles and fluids. The areas of emission provide a
warning systems for eruptions from these volcanoes.                                     habitat for organisms such as mussels and tube worms.

SFB 754: Biogeochemical Interactions in the Tropical Ocean
How much CO2 can the oceans absorb in future? Is the amount of
oxygen in the world ocean declining? In this context, what is the role
of key regions such as the eastern tropical Atlantic and Pacific?
Regions in the area of Cape Verde that have been sparsely investiga-
ted may hide many important information about the complex inter-
actions between chemical and biological processes in the ocean. Here,
the saying ”small cause big effect” might become relevant: Small
changes in chemical parameters could have large impacts on the
marine ecosystems. On the global scale, important consequences
would follow. Field experiment as well as model studies are required
to understand the complex relationships and to recognize possible
risks in time.
                                                                                        Oxygen distribution in the world ocean

                                     What are Collaborative Research Centres?
                                     The German Science Foundation supports different kinds of research programmes in all areas of science. One of the
                                     programme types is the so-called Sonderforschungsbereich (SFB) or Collaborative Research Centre. The SFB pro-
                                     gramme is unique in that it unites scientists from different disciplines on a research topic that is assessed to be of
                                     high priority. Collaborative Research Centres are established as temporary programmes with the aim of, not only
                                     promoting multidisciplinary cooperation, but also of supporting young scientists and students. The German Science
                                     Foundation places high expectations on these special projects, in particular the achievement of scientific results of
                                     international standard. The maximum support time for an SFB grant is 12 years, divided in project assessment inter-
                                     vals of three to four years. All science faculties at universities can apply for an SFB, while extra-university research
                                     institutes such as IFM-GEOMAR participate in cooperation with the lead university. Therefore, although most of the
                                     research for SFB 574 and SFB 754 is conducted at IFM-GEOMAR, the projects are officially affiliated with the Uni-
                                     versity of Kiel.

 The Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences coopera-
 tes with the University of Kiel to offer students a
 broad education in marine sciences.

 IFM-GEOMAR is responsible for the curricula in                              International Cooperation:

 • Physics of the Earth System: Meteorology - Oceanogra-                     • POMOR: German-Russian course of study for applied polar
   phy - Geophysics (Bachelor)                                                 and marine sciences. Up until now, it has only been available
                                                                               for Russian students, however, the course will become avai-
 • Biological Oceanography: (Master)                                           lable for students from other European countries. The pro-
                                                                               gramme is offered in cooperation with the Universities of
 • Climate Physics: Meteorology and Physical Oceanogra-                        Bremen und St. Petersburg, the Alfred Wegener Institute for
   phy (Master)                                                                Polar- and Marine Research (AWI) and the Association of
                                                                               North German Universities.
 Students in other courses of study at the University of                       Further information available at:
 Kiel can choose marine science classes as subsidiary sub-           
 jects. IFM-GEOMAR also offers seminars and classes in
 Marine Geology and Geophysics.                                              • GAME: international academic and research programme in
 Interdisciplinary education is supported through the                          Marine Ecology for master students in Biology. More than 20
 Integrated School of Ocean Sciences (ISOS) of the excel-                      institutes from 5 different continents participate in GAME.
 lence cluster ”The Future Ocean”.                                             Further information under:

                                                                             • China: Graduate and post-graduate programme with the
                                                                               Ocean University of China in Qingdao, in cooperation with
                                                                               the Universities in Kiel and Bremen.

 The Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (CAU)
 The CAU in Kiel represents the centre of scientific learning in the state of Schleswig-Holstein. More than 2,000
 scientists teach and conduct research at the Christian-AlbrechtsˆUniversität, which is attended by more than
 20,000 students. The university was founded in 1665 by Christian Albrecht, the Duke of Holstein-Gottorf. At that
 time, it comprised the four faculties Justice, Theology, Medicine and Philosophy. With the faculties Mathematics
 and Sciences, Economy and Social Sciences, Agriculture and Nutrition, and Technology added over the years, the
 Kiel University now offers a broad spectrum of higher education. Kiel's location on the bight with a direct con-
 nection to the open ocean naturally led to the development of yet another scientific focus: the interdisciplinary
 field of marine sciences currently strengthened through the excellence cluster ”The Future Ocean”. Today IFM-
 GEOMAR enjoys an international reputation and provides an ideal working environment for oceanographers
 from all disciplines ˆ Biology, Chemistry, Geology and Physics.

                                                           Tel: +49-431 600-1637
                                                           Address: Kiellinie, D-24105 Kiel


     The underwater voyage begins in the Baltic
     further on to the North Sea and on to the
     Atlantic Ocean. From there the visitor tra-
     vels to warmer waters of the Mediterrane-
     an Sea and finally, to the colourful and
     fascinating world of tropical coral reefs.
     The aquarium of IFM-GEOMAR offers the
     public a glimpse of our planet's different
     underwater worlds. The indoor part of the
     aquarium houses sea bass, molly miller,
     thornback ray, anemones, seahorses and
     many other fascinating inhabitants of the
     seas. Several seals play and frolic in the
     large outdoor basin, which has both surfa-
     ce and underwater viewing possibilities and
     offers public access 24 hours a day. The IFM-
     GEOMAR aquarium attempts to display the
     animals in a submarine habitat that is as
     authentic as possible. More than 85,000
     visitors enjoy these exhibits every year. On
     the one hand, the aquarium serves to intro-
     duce the public to the seemingly endless
     diversity of life in the sea, on the other
     hand it also serves as a research facility for
     the Marine Ecology division. Scientists can
     investigate for example the effect of
     nutrient quality, temperature and other
     environmental factors based on the growth
     rate of different organisms.

     Start-up Research for School Kids: The NaT-Working Project
     Initiated as part of the NaT-Working Programme by Robert Bosch Foundation, IFM-GEOMAR's
     outreach project NaT-Working Marine Research fosters young people's interest in science and tech-
     nology through joint projects with the institute's researchers. This direct cooperation with ten high
     schools in Kiel and surroundings complements science classes at school: high school students discuss
     current topics such as climate research or marine ecology with scientists at IFM-GEOMAR. Through
     laboratory sessions and practical courses, they get a better insight into scientific methods and
     thought processes, giving them a head start for their university education. The projects vary from
     short courses to long-term studies. They are conducted both in the schools and at IFM-GEOMAR and
     are an integral part of research projects such as IFM-GEOMAR's SFBs.
Published by:                          Editors:      Uta Deinet, Andreas Villwock
Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences
IFM-GEOMAR                             Design:       Ralf Ehe & Tom Janneck GbR
Tel.: + 49 - 431 600 - 0                             Agentur für moderne Kommunikation
Fax: + 49 - 431 600 - 2805                           Dominik Bednarz
eMail:              Printing:     2nd edition, 2000 copies                      Printed by:   DFN Kiel

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