DFG funds new research vessel

The new research vessel Maria S. Merian, which entered service today, is docked at the Baltic Sea Research Institute Warnemnde. It will be leaving for its first research expedition in the Baltic Sea on 16 February. It will be carrying out biogeochemical investigations in the central and northern basin regions of the Baltic Sea, in particular to provide information about the dynamics of oxygen depletion in the deep waters of the central Baltic Sea basin and the function of the northern Baltic Sea as a transfer area for terrestrially introduced compounds. Twenty researchers from the Baltic Sea Research Institute Warnemnde, and the universities of Plymouth/United Kingdom, Stockholm/Sweden, Umea/Sweden and Helsinki/Finland will be participating in this first expedition.

The expedition schedule for the new research vessel over 2006 is tight; the researchers will travel the Gulf of Cadiz, the North Atlantic, the Norwegian Sea and East Greenland, among other destinations. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has been funding the new research vessel since 2003 as a central research facility. The Maria S. Merian is the second research vessel to be funded by the DFG, together with the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, as part of this funding instrument. The Meteor was the first. The DFG covers 70% of the operating costs of approximately 5-6 million per year, and the ministry funds the remaining 30%. In addition, the DFG provides a further 1.5 million annually for expedition costs as part of the "Implementation of METEOR and MERIAN Expeditions" Priority Programme.

Through its funding of research vessels as central research facilities, the DFG ensures a fair distribution of "ship time" resources according to scientific performance criteria. In the same way as the Meteor, the new ship Maria S. Merian will be available to all German oceanographers and their international partners according to generally accepted

Contact: Dr. Eva-Maria Streier
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

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