The Alfred Wegener Institut | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar-und Meeresforschung (AWI) conducts multidisciplinary research in the Arctic, Antarctic and in temperate latitudes and coordinates the German Polar Research Program. It operates the research icebreaker POLARSTERN and a number of medium-size and smaller research vessels. The research mission at AWI comprises contributions to Earth system and climate research, aiming at identifying past and future changes in the environment from a marine and polar perspective. Since the late 1990ies, AWI maintains long term observations of the Fram Strait ecosystem, including an oceanographic array and the deep-sea observatory HAUSGARTEN, both of which are now integrated into the ocean observing system FRAM.
AWI’s contribution to FixO3 is provided by the HGF MPG Group for Deep Sea Ecology and Technology and the Department of Observational Oceanography. The HGF MPG Group for Deep Sea Ecology and Technology combines expertise in biological oceanography and instrumentation available at the AWI and at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany. State of the art methods in the field of marine microbiology and advanced in situ instruments are used to study the ecology of polar ecosystems with a special focus on the effect of global change on biodiversity and the global cycling of elements. Using moorings, free-falling benthic observatories and repeated sampling, biological, biogeochemical, and oceanographic parameters are investigated at the 17 permanent stations of the HAUSGARTEN deep-sea observatory at water depths between 1000 and 5500 m. The Department of Observational Oceanography uses a variety of state of the art oceanographic instruments (moorings, gliders, buoys, profilers) and modelling tools to investigate the status and dynamics of physical processes that determine the role of the subpolar and polar ocean for climate and ecosystems. An array of deep oceanographic moorings represents the backbone of the time series observations at Fram Strait that were started some 20 years ago and provide valuable insights into dynamics and consequences of global change in the Arctic.