Welcome to the Helmholtz Graduate School for Polar and Marine Research
- Next POLMAR seminar on July 09, 2013
- SCAR Fellowship Scheme 2013/14
The SCAR Fellowships are intended to allow researchers to undertake short-term visits to major international laboratories, field facilities, and/or institutes in or operated by SCAR member countries, so as to become acquainted with recent advances in research and/or to develop long-term scientific links and partnerships.
- "Wer fordert, muss auch fördern" - read more about POLMAR in the institute's quarterly @AWI no. 8
Midterm evaluation of POLMAR
“We want to be the best graduate school for Polar- and Marine Research in the world and that is why we want to know your opinion about how we are doing” – with these words Prof. Jelle Bijma, spokesman of the Helmholtz Graduate School POLMAR welcomed a team of experts, that came to Bremerhaven to evaluate the programme for postgraduates on January 15, 2013. In several short lectures, a poster session, discussions and many personal talks with POLMAR members and officials the evaluators from different research institutions and the Helmholtz association’s head office collected valuable information about the content, goals and methods of the POLMAR school.
see also @AWI no. 10
Thanks to all members and colleagues for their help and active participation in the successful midterm review of POLMAR!
POLMAR congratulates its former graduate school member Sebastian Rokitta for winning one of the AWI PhD prizes 2012!
Family support by POLMAR
Polona Itkin (Climate Sciences / Sea Ice Physics) has been able to attend seminars and make business trips thanks to the POLMAR family support programme. She took her young family with her and POLMAR covered the additional expenses. There is no minimum age limit for becoming a marine scientist!
POLMAR students participate in expeditions and workshops all over the world!
During their PhD time, several POLMAR students take the chance to participate in expeditions to the Arctic or the Antarctic or attend national and international conferences or workshops. Besides the challenge of working under extreme conditions such as low temperature or limited working spaces on research platforms, the learning of new scientific methods and the opportunity to discuss scientific results with colleagues from all over the world make such activities an unforgettable experience. Additionally, the social and intercultural experience broadens the view and may lead to long lasting friendships and networks. International experiences remain indispensible for being successful in the scientific community. POLMAR therefore strongly recommends, encourages and financially supports applications for participating in international conferences, workshops or seminars that are related to the respective PhD project. In the following there will be provided some short reports of POLMAR students on recent activities.
A Tale of Sea Ice and Snow - an Antarctic Summer Expedition (M. Hoppmann)
My name is "Santa" Mario, and I am just in the middle of my Phd project called “Sea-Ice Mass Balance Influenced by Ice Shelves” (acronym SIMBIS).
I have been through 1.5 years of several highs and lows, but right now I am privileged to enjoy the highlight of my work: a two-month field campaign at AWI’s Neumayer III station on the Ekström Ice Shelf. I am the leader of a group of four scientists/technicians, investigating the physics of Antarctic sea ice and its snow cover. The immobile sea ice on the nearby Atka Bay exhibits some characteristics unique to the Antarctic and is an ideal natural laboratory to conduct sea-ice research. We focus on two aspects: first, the thick snow cover, which modifies sea-ice mass- and energy balance and heavily influences remote sensing techniques. Second, we investigate the phenomenon of huge amounts of rising ice crystals, which form in the water column during ice-shelf melting at depths. These ice platelets accumulate beneath the sea-ice cover, supporting huge amounts of biomass.
We use a variety of methods, from geophysics over oceanography to meteorology and biology, to get a better picture of the different processes here at Atka Bay. These include for example electromagnetic methods to determine sea-ice thickness, spectral radiation measurements and CTD profiles under the sea ice, while our under-ice cameras reveal the beauty of this strange world. More basic methods comprise snow pits, ice-core drillings and filtration of chlorophyll.
We determined the dense layer of loose crystals to be up to ten meters in thickness, while myriads of organisms gather between them. With our work we hope to contribute at least a small piece in the puzzle of Antarctica’s role in the climate system.
This project is funded by the German Research Council (DFG) in its priority program “Antarctic Research with comparative investigations in Arctic ice areas” (SPP1158, NI 1092/2) and the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar- and Marine Research. I am grateful to POLMAR for their support, especially the invaluable courses which helped me to get in contact with other researchers and to prepare this expedition.
Research stay in Princeton (M. Eichner)
Funded by the POLMAR Outgoing Scholarship, I have come to Princeton University for a 3 month research stay from August through October 2012. During my stay, I am carrying out an experiment on the combined effects of ocean acidification and iron limitation on a species of N2 fixing cyanobacteria, focusing especially on the activity of carbon concentrating mechanisms. The stay at the Geosciences department at Princeton University is giving me the opportunity to greatly benefit from the expertise in trace metal work and facilities available in the group. Next to this, I have already gained a great deal of input both regarding my previous as well future work on ocean acidification effects. The new lab environment is posing new challenges and showing me different approaches to common problems. It is a great experience to work in the time-honoured buildings of Princeton University, and I am enjoying the international atmosphere and glorious fall in Princeton as much as the occasional trip to New York City. Hoping for a successful continuation of the experiment, I am already sure that I will get back with a whole bunch of new experiences and impressions.
Research stay at AWIPEV Arctic Research Base (K. Huenerlage)
In the first year of my PhD studies I took part in a 6 weeks expedition to Spitsbergen to perform ecophysiological investigations on my study organisms: Krill in the fjords of West-Spitsbergen as indicators of climate change. As krill are sensitive organisms and cannot be kept in the AWI home laboratories, I rely on expeditions during which I can perform experiments and (physiological) measurements on live specimens. My journey started at the end of July 2012 in Longyearbyen (Spitsbergen) from where I joined a 2 weeks research cruise on board the polish RV Oceania to the fjords southwest of Spitsbergen before I left ship at AWIPEV station Ny Ålesund. On board I did respiration measurements and collected animal samples for later analysis at AWI. I really enjoyed the polish hospitality and the nice collaboration, which made the cruise an unforgettable (and also adventurous) experience. At the AWIPEV Research Base I was impressed by the convenient working conditions, which were amongst others access to 1) the KingsBay Marine Lab and all its equipment, 2) temperate filtered sea water directly from the tap, 3) cool rooms for animal maintenance with flow through system and last but not least 4) guaranteed krill supply every second day thanks to Vidar, captain of the station boat Teisten. Thus, additionally to the work I also did on RV Oceania, I was able to conduct a long-term experiment over the whole 4 weeks stay as well as an interdisciplinary experiment with our “krill-colleagues” from SB Roscoff (France). Consequently, the possibility to participate in the research cruise in connection with the stay at the AWIPEV station was a real benefit for my PhD studies. I collected heaps of data and had a lot of fun during my work as well as along with it.
Research stay in Alaska (M. Buchhorn)
In summer 2012, POLMAR gave me the opportunity to do research at the Alaska Geobotany Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA. I performed this ten week research stay (July to September 2012) in connection with a two-week summer school in ‘Arctic vegetation ecology’ as well as an four- week expedition to the Low Arctic regions of Alaska.
The Alaska Geobotany Center is not only the first address for research of northern ecosystems through the use of GIS, remote sensing, field experiments, and cooperative team research in the United States, but also already an active partner in AWI research projects. During my stay I investigated the spectral characteristics as well as BRDF characteristics (Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function) of Tundra vegetation communities along gradients (soil-pH, soil-moisture, hillslope, zonal vegetation change). Therefore the data sets collected at the summer expedition were analysis and enhanced with vegetation and statistical data, which was collected by the Alaska Geobotany Center during the last 20 years. Without this expert knowledge an analysis had not been possible. Aim of this collaborate research is the understanding of the reflectance signatures of Tundra biomes along the main gradients in order to develop hyperspectral vegetation indices for the new EnMAP satellite mission. The development of these indices is a main part of my PhD work.
I really enjoyed my stay at the institute and in Alaska. I saw gorgeous landscapes, met interesting as well as strange people, and found new friends. Overall, thanks to POLMAR for this great experience!
Research stay in California (A. Hüning)
The Helmholtz Graduate School for Polar and Marine Research (POLMAR) gave me the opportunity and supported me to go abroad to research at the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA, USA. During my stay (February to May 2012) I investigated ocean acidification effects on protein expression of the blue mussel from the Baltic Sea using proteomic techniques. As there are no suitable labs in Germany or Europe that are specialized on proteomic analyses of marine animal tissues I chose a host who is an expert in applying proteomics on marine invertebrates. With the outstanding expert knowledge, the lab work could be successfully finished within the three months. The compiled dataset will nicely enrich my PhD work. In general, I had a great time over there, with working, meeting new people and experiencing the country. I really did not want to go back to Germany at the end of my stay!
Research stay in Sweden (C. Kreiss / K. Michael)
Within our PhD thesis we spent 3 months at the Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Sciences in Kristineberg, Sweden to investigate the impacts of climate change on cod. As it is very difficult to catch enough cod in german coastal waters during early spring, we went to work were the fish is at this time of the year. Due to the perfect infrastructure at the station including direct seawater access and a temperature controlled flow - through system we had the possibility to realize an extensive setup with various combinations of different temperature and pH conditions. Our stay was very successful, we were able to conduct growth experiments, respiration measurements and took a full set of 1400 tissue samples home for further analyses. Working in Sweden was a very good experience, we were able to built up important cooperations with swedish scientists, met a lot of nice people and spent three months in one of the most beautiful landscapes of Sweden. And last but not least: we learned how to cook the original swedish Köttbullar.