Marine, Polar and Climate Research

Since 2001 this, the most important high-profile area of the University of Bremen, has been hosting one of the six DFG Research Centers, which in 2007 was also recognized as an Excellence Cluster, entitled “The Ocean in the Earth System” (MARUM).

The aim of MARUM is via targeted research to shed light on the role the ocean plays in the Earth’s system. A special focus of the investigations is on global change, and they deliver fundamental contributions towards the sustainable use of the oceans. Overarching themes are ocean and climate, the relationship between the geo- and bio-spheres, as well as sediment dynamics. Research topics range from the coastlines to the deep ocean. Research is closely integrated in international programs in which the MARUM researchers play an active role. Within the context of the International Ocean Discovery Program, MARUM maintains one of only three core repositories in the world. It runs a fleet of state-of-the-art underwater devices for deep-sea exploration and it has become a center for marine research technology and a sought-after partner in international cooperation projects. In 2011 the Academic Senate granted MARUM the status of a "research faculty" with its own budget and independent control over personnel matters. The details are set down in a target agreement drawn up between MARUM and the Rectorate. MARUM is to be accompanied by a scientific advisory board and evaluated every five years.

  • Actinie in 630 Meter WassertiefeActinie in 630 Meter Wassertiefe
  • Wanderausstellung MeerErlebenWanderausstellung MeerErleben
  • Greifarm von MARUM-QUESTGreifarm von MARUM-QUEST
  • Der Tauchroboter MARUM-QUESTDer Tauchroboter MARUM-QUEST
  • Einsatz eines SchwerelotsEinsatz eines Schwerelots
  • Kaltwasserkoralle in 1000 Meter WassertiefeKaltwasserkoralle in 1000 Meter Wassertiefe
  • Beprobung eines SedimentkernsBeprobung eines Sedimentkerns
  • Octokoralle am Mittelatlantischen RückenOctokoralle am Mittelatlantischen Rücken
  • IODP-Kernlager am MARUMIODP-Kernlager am MARUM
  • Schwarzer Raucher am Mittelatlantischen RückenSchwarzer Raucher am Mittelatlantischen Rücken
  • Arbeiten im Geochemie-LaborArbeiten im Geochemie-Labor
  • Blick auf die Gerätehalle des MARUMBlick auf die Gerätehalle des MARUM
  • GLOMAR Doktoranden-WorkshopGLOMAR Doktoranden-Workshop
  • Aussetzen des AUV MARUM-SEALAussetzen des AUV MARUM-SEAL
  • Messung eines SedimentkernsMessung eines Sedimentkerns
  • Aussetzen des MARUM-MeBoAussetzen des MARUM-MeBo
  • Ein Sedimentkern wird geöffnet.Ein Sedimentkern wird geöffnet.
  • Untersuchungen am MikroskopUntersuchungen am Mikroskop
  • Geophysikalische UntersuchungGeophysikalische Untersuchung
  • Korallenbewuchs auf KissenbasaltKorallenbewuchs auf Kissenbasalt

Global change and the underlying physical processes in system Earth are at the center of the research carried out by the Institute of Environmental Physics. Among other things the institute, which is integrated in several international programs, measures changes in the polar ice and the composition of the atmosphere with the aid of remote sensing methods. Physical-oceanographic measurement data are compiled within a global network to track changes in large-scale ocean streams. Another research area encompasses the terrestrial environmental physics. 

The institute BreMarE (Bremen Marine Ecology - Center for Research & Education) encompasses the marine research groups at the Faculty of Biology/Chemistry at the University of Bremen. Their research concentrates on marine ecological aspects, such as the investigation of ecosystem functions, functional diversity in marine systems and trophic interactions, as well as adaptive strategies of marine organisms (ecophysiology), and biogeochemical pathways. BreMarE carries out research projects in the Tropics, temperate and Polar seas, in coastal systems as well as the deep sea, applying state-of-the-art methods in ecophysiology, molecular biology, biochemistry and trace element analysis. Furthermore, BreMarE coordinates the education in marine biology and marine chemistry at the University of Bremen.

There is an especially close cooperation with the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven, part of the Helmholtz Association. In 2010 AWI and MARUM created the AWI-MARUM Alliance (AMAR), similar to the Jülich Aachen Research Alliance (JARA). In a first step, this strategic partnership is thematically focused on three main areas: the ocean dynamics of the North Atlantic-Arctic; marine technologies and earth observation systems; data information systems.

Other important partners are the Max Planck Institute (MPI) of Marine Microbiology and the Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT), which existed as a non-university institute funded by the Land of Bremen prior to being accepted into the Leibniz Association. As in the case of the AWI, in addition to the existing research projects, long-term mutual research perspectives are developed also with the MPI of Marine Microbiology and the ZMT. An example of this is the investigation of processes which exchange energy and matter between relatively short-lived biological and longer-term geological element cycles (MPI). In collaboration with the ZMT, mutual research is taking place on the dynamics of tropical marine ecosystems.

New underwater technologies for exploring the ocean depths and for the environmentally friendly extraction of resources from the sea are being jointly developed by the University’s Institute of Maritime Technology (MarTech-Bremen), founded in 2010 by the cooperation partners MARUM, DFKI Bremen and DLR Bremen.

International visibility is boosted by two DFG International Research Training Groups ( Proxies in Earth History (EUROPROX)Integrated Coastal Zone and Shelf-Sea Research (INTERCOAST) in collaboration with Waikato University in New Zealand) and the three graduate programs run jointly with the AWI and the MPI (Helmholtz Graduate School for Polar and Marine Research (POLMAR)Earth System Sciences Research School (ESSReS)International Max Planck Research School of Marine Microbiology (MarMic)). Representative of the quality of the young researchers being produced is the graduate school “Global Change in the Marine Realm” (GLOMAR), which was supported in the first phase of the Excellence Initiative.

The high-profile area cooperates closely with internationally leading research institutions in the field of marine, climate, and polar research, especially in the USA, France and Great Britain, China, Japan and New Zealand. 

The quality of research in the high-profile area is reflected in the DFG funding rankings for 2009, in which the geosciences occupied first place; in addition to this, in 2009 and 2011 the high-profile area received two Leibniz Prizes of the DFG and in 2010 an ERC Advanced Grant.

Selected publications

Bartsch, I; Wiencke, C; Bischof, K, Buchholz, CM, Buck, BH, Eggert, A, Feuerpfeil, P, Hanelt, D, Jacobsen, S, Karez, R, Karsten, U, Molis, M, Roleda, MY, Schubert, H, Schumann, R, Valentin, K, Weinberger, F, Wiese, J. (2008). The genus Laminaria sensu lato: recent insights and developments. European Journal of Phycology 43 (1), 1 - 86

Biddle, JF, Lipp, JS, Lever, MA, Lloyd, KG, Sørensen, KB, Anderson, R, Fredricks, HF, Elvert, M, Kelly, TJ, Schrag, DP, Sogin, ML, Brenchley, JE, Teske, A, House, CH, Hinrichs, K-U (2006). Heterotrophic Archaea dominate sedimentary subsurface ecosystems off Peru. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sci-ences of the United States of America 103 (10), 3846 - 3851, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0600035103

Collins, JA, Schefuß, E, Heslop D, Mulitza, S, Prange, M, Zabel, M, Tjallingii, R, Dokken, T, Huang, E, Ma-ckensen, A, Schulz, M, Tian, J, Zarriess, M, Wefer, G (2011). Interhemispheric symmetry of tropical African rainbelt over the past 23,000 years. Nature Geoscience 4, 42 - 45

Felis, T, Suzuki, A, Kuhnert, H, Dima, M, Lohmann, G, Kawahata, H (2009). Subtropical coral reveals abrupt early-twentieth-century freshening in the western North Pacific Ocean. Geology 37, 527 - 530

Goldhammer, T, Brüchert, V, Ferdelmann, TG, Zabel, M (2010). A key to the phosphorus puzzle: micro-bial sequestration in anoxic upwelling sediments. Nature Geoscience 3, 557 - 560

Lee, RF, Hagen, W, Kattner, G, (2006). Lipid storage in marine zooplankton - a review. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser.  307, 273 - 306

Lipp, JS, Morono, Y, Inagaki F, Hinrichs, K-U (2008). Significant contribution of Archaea to extant bio-mass in marine subsurface sediments. Nature 454, 991 - 994

McGregor, HV, Dima, M, Fischer, HW, Mulitza, S (2007). Rapid 20th-century increase in coastal upwelling off northwest Africa. Science 315, 637 - 639

Mohtadi, M, Oppo, DW, Steinke, S, Stuut, J-B, de Pol-Holz, R, Hebbeln, D, Lückge, A (2011). Glacial to Holocene swings of the Australian-Indonesian monsoon. Nature Geoscience 4 (8), 540 - 544, doi:10.1038/ngeo1209

Mulitza, S, Heslop, D, Pittauerová, D, Fischer, HW, Meyer, I, Stuut, J-B, Zabel, M, Mollenhauer, G, Col-lins, JA, Kuhnert, H, Schulz, M (2010). Increase in African dust flux at the onset of commercial agricul-ture in the Sahel region. Nature 466, 226 - 228

Mulitza, S, Prange, M, Stuut, J-B, Zabel, M, von Dobeneck, T, Itambi, AC, Nizou, J, Schulz, M, Wefer, G (2008). Sahel megadroughts triggered by glacial slowdowns of Atlantic meridional overturning. Paleoceanography 23, PA4206, doi: 10.1029/2008PA001637

Notholt, J, Luo, BP, Fueglistaler, S, Weisenstein, D, Rex, M, Lawrence, MG, Bingemer, H, Wohltmann, I,  Corti, T, Warneke, T, von Kuhlmann R, Peter T (2005). Influence of tropospheric SO2 emissions on par-ticle formation and the stratospheric humidity. Geophys. Res. Letters 32, L07810, doi:10.1029/2004GL022159

Rhein, M, Kieke, D, Httl-Kabus, S, Rößler, A, Mertens, C, Meissner, R, Klein, B, Böning, CW, Yashayaev, I (2011). Deep water formation, the subpolar gyre, and the meridional overturning circulation in the subpolar North Atlantic. Deep-Sea Res. II 58, 1819 - 1832

Richter, A, Burrows, JP, Nuss, H, Granier, C, Niemeier, U (2005). Increase in tropospheric nitrogen diox-ide over China observed from space. Nature 437 (7055), 129 - 132, doi: 10.1038/nature04092

Röhl, U, Westerhold, T, Bralower, TJ, Zachos, JC (2007). On the duration of the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM). Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems 8, Q12002, doi: 10.1029/2007GC174

Schefuß, E, Schouten, S, Schneider, RR (2005). Climatic controls on central African hydrology during the past 20,000 years. Nature 437 (7061), 1003 - 1006, doi: 10.1038/nature03945

Schulz, HN, Schulz. HD (2005). Large sulfur bacteria and the formation of phosphorite. Science 307 (5708), 416 - 418, doi: 10.1126/science.1103096

Strasser, M, Moore, GF, Kimura, G, Kitamura, Y, Kopf, AJ, Lallemant, SJ, Park, JO, Screaton, EL, Su, X, Underwood, MB, Zhao, X (2009). Origin and evolution of a splay fault in the Nankai accretionary wedge. Nature Geoscience 2, 648 - 652, doi:10.1038/ngeo609

Westerhold, T, Röhl, U, Donner, B, McCarren, HK, Zachos, JC (2011). A complete high-resolution Paleo-cene benthic stable isotope record for the central Pacific (ODP Site 1209). Paleoceanography 26, PA2216, doi: 10.1029/2010PA002092

Zachos, JC, Röhl, U, Schellenberg, SA, Sluijs, A, Hodell, DA, Kelly, DC, Thomas, E, Nicolo, M, Raffi, I, Lourens, LJ, McCarren, H, Kroon, D (2005). Rapid acidification of the ocean during the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum. Science 308 (5728), 1611 - 1615, doi: 10.1126/science.1109004