Annette Barthelt Foundation Honors Young Marine Scientists

Scientists from GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre and the German Center for Marine Biodiversity Research in Hamburg have been awarded by the Annette Barthelt Foundation for their outstanding work in the field of marine research.

Award winners Dr. Kathrin Wuttig and Sarah Schnurr
Award winners Dr. Kathrin Wuttig and Sarah Schnurr.

This prize is awarded by the Foundation in memory of four young scientists of the former Kiel Institute of Oceanography, who were killed in a terrorist attack in Djibouti on 18 March 1987.

Actually a reason to celebrate: This year, for the 25th time, the Annette Barthelt Foundation awards young marine scientists for their outstanding research. However, as with any of the previous awards, the occasion not only calls for joy and celebration but also for the commemoration of the tragic deaths of four young researchers in 1987. Back then, an explosive device detonated in a cafe in the East African port city of Djibouti. A total of 13 people fell victim to the attack, including Annette Barthelt, Marco Buchalla, Hans -Wilhelm Halbeisen and Daniel Reinschmidt from the former Kiel Institute Marine Research (IfM). Four other scientists of the IfM suffered serious injuries, with the consequences still lingering to this very day. They all were about to embark on the research vessel METEOR for a scientific expedition in the Indian Ocean.

Award winner Dr. Andrea Frommel attended through a live feed from Brazil.
Award winner Dr. Andrea Frommel attended through a live feed from Brazil.

To commemorate this tragedy, survivors, relatives and friends established the Annette Barthelt Foundation. “We never want to forget our colleagues who so tragically lost their lives. And we want to keep reminding everyone of the consequences terrorism can have for individuals and society. But we also want to look optimistically into the future and help young people to explore our earth and to conquer the frontiers of knowledge and cultures,” says Prof. Dr. Wolf-Christian Dullo, President of Annette Barthelt Foundation. “The Annette Barthelt Award for Marine Research makes a small contribution toward this goal.”

The 2014 winners come from GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and the German Center for Marine Biodiversity Research in Hamburg.

Dr. Andrea Frommel is being honored for her dissertation which she wrote at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel. The thesis entitled “Effects of ocean acidification on the growth and development of cod larvae (Gadus morhua)” is dedicated to the possible biological consequences of ocean acidification on the juvenile stages of Norwegian and Baltic cod. For the Norwegian cod, she found that the phase from older larvae to juvenile fish is particularly sensitive to CO2, demonstrating for the first time that ocean acidification is not only a problem for calcifying invertebrates. Frommel is now working as a postdoc at the University of Gothenburg at Sven Lovén Center in Tjärnö.

Award winner Dr. Kathrin Wuttig with Prof. Dr. Wolf-Christian Dullo.
Award winner Dr. Kathrin Wuttig with Prof. Dr. Wolf-Christian Dullo.

Dr. Kathrin Wuttig also wrote ​​her dissertation at GEOMAR. In her work entitled “Manganese biogeochemistry in the sunlit ocean”, Dr. Wuttig examines the distribution, sources and sinks, as well as the reaction mechanisms and cycle of biologically essential micro-nutrient manganese (Mn) in the eastern tropical Atlantic and in a mesocosm experiment in the Mediterranean. At the center of these studies are very sophisticated sampling and analytical techniques where she further developed and optimized established methods for her own purposes. Her findings make an important contribution to the understanding of biogeochemical cycles and the effect of environmental changes. Dr. Wuttig currently has a postdoctoral position in the Chemical Oceanography Department at GEOMAR.

Sarah Schnurr is being honored for her master’s thesis which she wrote at the University of Hamburg in the Department of Marine Ecosystem and Fisheries Sciences. In her work entitled “Distribution of selected species of Munnopsidae Lilljeborg, 1864 (Crustacea, Isopoda Asellota) around Iceland linked to long-term oceanographic data”, the biologist analyzed the diversity, composition and distribution of selected species of Munnopsidae Lilljeborg, 1864 (a typical group of deep-sea isopods) from the waters around Iceland. She fed data from both, classic taxonomy and oceanography, into a model, and she analyzed and evaluated the results. Sarah Schnurr is currently employed as a researcher at DZMB in Hamburg.

Award winner Sarah Schnurr with Prof. Dr. Wolf-Christian Dullo.
Award winner Sarah Schnurr with Prof. Dr. Wolf-Christian Dullo.

The awards include a research grant in the amount of EUR 3,000 each, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The winners presented their work as part of the award ceremony.

In his presentation, Prof. Dr. Gerhard Bohrmann from the Research Centre MARUM at the University of Bremen addressed the subject of methane hydrates from the sea and discussed the chances of this energy source as a future energy resource.

Press Release, April 15, 2014
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