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IPW8: International conference explores the current state of phosphorus research

From September 12 to 16, 2016, the 8th International Phosphorus Workshop (IPW8) with the title “Phosphorus 2020 — Challenges for synthesis, agriculture, and ecosystems” will be held in Rostock, Germany. Its overarching theme is to discuss the research progress concerning the vital question of how phosphorus can be utilized sustainably in the face of finite reserves and without severe environmental damage. 230 experts coming from more than 30 different countries will attend. The international phosphorus workshop (IPW) is one of the most important expert meetings of European phosphorus research and takes place every three years.


Can ‘farting’ copepods affect the climate? IOW expedition on methane production of zooplankton

Methane is an important greenhouse gas with a strong potential to impact climate de-velopment on earth. There are, however, huge gaps in the knowledge concerning indi-vidual sources of methane and to which extent they have an actual impact on the atmos-phere. On August 6, 2016, a research team under the lead of the Leibniz Institute for Bal-tic Sea Research Warnemünde (IOW) set out aboard the research vessel ALKOR for a 3-week cruise into the central Baltic Sea to examine for the first time systematically, whether certain, at times very abundant copepods and their microbial gut flora produce substantial amounts of atmospherically effective methane.


First comprehensive inventory of the entire Baltic sea floor

The renowned ICES Journal of Marine Science published most recently the first comprehensive survey of the distribution of macrozoobenthos communities in the entire Baltic Sea – a study done by the IOW scientists Mayya Gogina and Michael Zettler and a team of co-authors. Based on the abundance of certain species at more than 7.000 locations, they identified 10 major communities. In the most northern areas, benthic communities with only few major key species belonging to crustaceans, polychaetes and bivalves (e.g. Monoporeia affinis, Marenzelleria spp. und Macoma balthica, respectively) exist. They dominate most of the Baltic Sea north of the Bornholm Basin, which means nearly 60 % of the whole sea floor of the Baltic


IOW expedition studies eddies in the Baltic Sea to collect data for im-proving climate modelling

On June 18, 2016, a research team under the lead of the Leibniz IOW set out from Rostock port aboard the research vessel ELISABETH MANN BORGESE for a 9-day cruise into a sea area south of Bornholm island. The expedition focuses on the oceanographic analysis of eddy structures in the surface layer of the Baltic Sea and their impact on marine currents as well as microorganisms. IOW’s expedition contributes to the project “Clockwork Ocean” of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht – Centre for Materials and Coastal Research (HZG), which for the first time employs a manned zeppelin that cooperates with research vessels for the study of marine eddies.


10 years MARIA S. MERIAN, 50th expedition: Unique samples and data collected on winter cruise

After 23 days at sea the MARIA S. MERIAN arrived back at her home port of Rostock on January 29, 2016. This concludes the first comprehensive winter expedition for investigating matter cycles at the sea floor of the North and Baltic Sea. Under IOW lead, 16 scientists braved harsh conditions like heavy storms, driving snow, icy temperatures, thick fog and pouring rain to get „to the bottom“ of their research issues regarding the two German seas.


New insights into the fate of methane released at the seafloor

Joint press release of IOW and GEOMAR about the special issue of the “Journal of Marine and Petroleum Geology”, which reports the studies of a crater at the bottom of the North Sea created following a shallow gas blowout in the course of oil exploration in 1990that provides new insights into the fate of methane emissions at the sea floor.


Uncharted territory:
50th MERIAN expedition focuses on seafloor processes in winter

The North and Baltic Sea face environmental changes resulting from climate change, increasing utilization pressure as well as changes in the catchment area. These changes and their effect on coastal ecosystems are the focus of the German research KüNO consortium that aims at providing knowledge and data for a sustainable coastal management. One KüNO research field is the analysis of processes in the sediment water transition zone, which have a major influence on marine matter cycles. On January 6, 2016, the MARIA S. MERIAN embarked on her 50th expedition to study these processes in winter for the first time.


Autumn gales again drive salt into the Baltic: Third Major Baltic Inflow within 1.5 years.

From November 14 – 22, huge amounts of North Sea waters rich in oxygen entered the Baltic Sea again. It was a series of 12 storm fronts passing the Baltic Sea region since the beginning of November, which had triggered this event. According to first calculations a water volume of 76 km³ with a salt content of 17-22 g/kg passed the narrow and shallow Western Baltic Sea during the main inflow period. This sums up to approximately 1.4 giga-tons of salt being transported into the Baltic. Such an event can be classified as a Major Baltic Inflow of moderate intensity. Currently, this water mass can be traced in a water depth of 45-25 m in the Arkona Basin.


Review of an exceptional year: Baltic Sea status report 2014 for the first time available in English

The yearly IOW assessment of the hydrographic-hydrochemical status of the Baltic Sea is an important component of the HELCOM monitoring programme. This year, for the first time, IOW has published the report for 2014 in English as a service specifically targeted at international experts and stakeholders in the Baltic littoral states. Especially the documentation of last year’s exceptional salt water inflow events is of particular interest for the Baltic expert community.


New department head
for “Physical Oceanography and Instrumentation” at IOW

On October 1, 2015, Prof. Markus Meier started in his new position as head of the department “Physical Oceanography and Instrumentation” at IOW. Previously, the expert for theoretical oceanography and climate modelling headed the oceanographic research unit of the internationally renowned Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI).