Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel

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Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel
Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel
View of the GEOMAR on the west bank of the Kiel Fjord (still as IFM-Geomar)
Category: research Institute
Carrier: Federal Ministry for Education and Research
Ministry for Education and Science of the State of Schleswig-Holstein
Legal form of the carrier: Foundation under public law
Seat of the wearer: Berlin , Kiel
Membership: Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers
Facility location: Kiel
Type of research: Basic research
Subjects: Natural sciences
Areas of expertise: Geology , oceanography , meteorology , biology , chemistry
Basic funding: Federal Government (90%), State of Schleswig-Holstein (10%)
Management: Peter M. Herzig
Employee: 1000 (as of 2019)
Homepage: geomar.de

The Geomar Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel (spelling: GEOMAR ) is one of the leading institutions in the field of marine research in Europe. The institute's task is to study the chemical, physical, biological and geological processes in the ocean and their interaction with the sea floor and the atmosphere.


Aerial photo of the GEOMAR on the west bank of the Kiel Fjord.
The GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel on the east bank
Aerial photo of the east bank site, August 2015

Marine research in Kiel has a long tradition and in the late 19th century created internationally outstanding foundations.

In 1870, the was at the request of the German Fisheries Association with support from the Ministry of Agriculture of Prussia , the Prussian Commission for the scientific study of the German seas in Kiel established. She first set up a large number of observation stations. In 1883, their member Victor Hensen began research trips through the Bay of Kiel , which led to an understanding of plankton and created biological oceanography . It became a course of study carried out by the Institute for Oceanography (IfM) and the Research Center for Marine Geosciences (Geomar). This later became a cooperation between the University of Kiel and IFM-Geomar. In 1902 the commission founded the “Laboratory for International Marine Research”, in which physical, chemical and biological studies were carried out. Their hydrographic department was headed by the Kiel geographer Otto Krümmel . Until 1938, the Reich research steamer Poseidon was used for fisheries research in the North and Baltic Seas. In 1937 the Kiel Institute for Oceanography was founded as a university institute by the zoologist Adolf Remane . After the institute was destroyed in World War II , it was rebuilt under Georg Wüst and Günter Dietrich .

In July 1987 the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein established the Foundation for Marine Geosciences (Geomar) by law , a foundation under public law to operate a research institute. The location was the east bank of Kiel. While the Institute of Oceanography dealt with the physical, chemical and biological processes in the sea and the interaction with the atmosphere, research at Geomar focused on the geological, geophysical and geochemical processes of the seabed and the interaction with the water column .

In 2004 the Leibniz Institute for Marine Sciences (IFM-Geomar) was formed from the “Foundation for Marine Geosciences” (GEOMAR) and the “ Institute for Marine Science at the Christian Albrechts University in Kiel ” (IfM). Like today's Geomar, it was a non-university research facility based in Kiel. His research activities were assigned to application-oriented basic research in oceanography, geology and meteorology . The institute was a legal foundation under public law of the state of Schleswig-Holstein , a member of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Scientific Community (WGL) and an affiliated institute of the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel . In 2012 the research facility was transferred to the Helmholtz Society and has since been called the Geomar Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel. This means that it is mainly financed by the federal government (90% share).


The GEOMAR research vessels at the west bank pier
The submersible Jago stationed at Geomar is launched from the research vessel MARIA S. MERIAN during the MSM21 / 4 expedition off the coast of Svalbard.
ABYSS underwater vehicle (full-size model )

The main research areas are:

In addition, there are major projects in basic research such as the Cluster of ExcellenceThe Future Ocean ” and application-related issues.

In cooperation with the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel , the Geomar is involved in several, partly internationally oriented courses in the field of marine sciences . Geomar is a member of the Helmholtz Association , the German Climate Consortium , the German Marine Research Consortium and the European Marine Board and employs around 1000 people (as of 2019).


The institute is divided into the four central areas "Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics", "Marine Biogeochemistry", "Marine Ecology" and "Dynamics of the Ocean Floor" as well as the Collaborative Research Center (SFB) of the German Research Foundation , the SFB 754 "Biogeochemical Interactions in the Tropical Ocean" .

It operates the research vessels Alkor and Littorina as well as the research boat Arctic Fox and the only German manned research diving ship Jago . The institute has its own pier for the research vessels . GEOMAR also operates three deep-sea robots : the remote-controlled underwater vehicle ROV Kiel 6000 with a maximum diving depth of 6000 meters, the autonomous underwater vehicle AUV Abyss and, since January 2011, the remote-controlled underwater vehicle ROV PHOCA with a maximum diving depth of 3000 meters.

The public aquarium with a seal basin on the keel line is also attached to the institute .


In addition to teaching as part of the university cooperation, the GAME (Global Approach By Modular Experiments) program for master’s students was initiated at GEOMAR . The aim of the program is to investigate the effects of influencing factors of so-called “ global change ” on ecosystems in the world's coastal regions. For this purpose, biological-oceanographic experiments or investigations are carried out in parallel in over ten countries worldwide every year. With data sets that are as comparable as possible, statements on the global development of certain maritime subject areas are to be made. Martin Wahl set up the program together with the research partners of GEOMAR. It is largely financed by third-party funds from sponsors from civil society and the maritime industry .


In cooperation with the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Geomar trains students in the bachelor's degree "Physics of the Earth System: Meteorology - Oceanography - Geophysics" as well as in the master's degree "Biological Oceanography" and "Climate Physics: Meteorology and Physical Oceanography". In addition, contributions are made to various courses of study (chemistry, geology, mineralogy and geophysics).


Geomar receives its basic funding according to the standard in the Helmholtz Association 90% from the federal government and 10% from the host state. For 2018, a total of 55 million euros were earmarked for basic funding for the institute in the budget. There are also third-party funds . The institute recently had a budget of around 80 million euros and around 1,000 employees.


On August 31, 2019, an underwater data logger with a weight of approx. 800 kg and a value of approx. 300,000 euros, which was installed on the seabed in Eckernförde Bay at a depth of 22 meters, disappeared without a trace. All that remained was a torn data cable. The data logger was installed there in 2016


Web links

Commons : Geomar (Kiel)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Eric L. Mills: Biological Oceanography - An Early History, 1870-1960 . 2nd Edition. University of Toronto Press, 2012, ISBN 978-1-4426-1372-0 , pp. 3 ff . ( Excerpt online from Google [accessed on January 6, 2014]).
  2. New study program "Biological Oceanography" . Christian Albrechts University in Kiel. May 5, 2003. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
  3. ^ Law on the establishment of the "Foundation for Marine Geosciences (GEOMAR)" . juris . July 2, 1987. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
  4. ^ Law on the establishment of the Leibniz Institute for Marine Sciences Foundation
  5. ^ History on the institute's website
  6. Studying - Marine Science Courses. Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel, accessed on August 3, 2019 .
  7. About us. Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel, accessed on August 3, 2019 .
  8. Research Vessels . Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel, accessed on August 3, 2019 .
  9. GEOMAR at a glance on the institute's website
  10. ^ The research submersible Jago on the institute's website
  11. Website of the aquarium at Geomar ( Memento of the original from February 8, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / aquarium-geomar.de
  12. GAME Infosheet, 2016
  13. http://www.geomar.de/studieren/bsc-physik-des-erdsystems/
  14. http://www.geomar.de/studieren/msc-biological-oceanography/
  15. http://www.geomar.de/studieren/msc-climate-physics/
  16. { https://www.ndr.de/nachrichten/schleswig-holstein/Unterwasserobservatorium-vom-Geomar-verschwunden,geomar262.html NDR article from September 4, 2019}
  17. { https://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/natur/eckernfoerde-messstation-von-meeresgrund-verschwunden-a-1285237.html Spiegel article from September 4, 2019}
  18. { https://edition.cnn.com/2019/09/06/europe/underwater-observatory-disappeared-trnd/index.html CNN article from September 6, 2019. Author Scottie Andrew}

Coordinates: 54 ° 19 ′ 38 "  N , 10 ° 10 ′ 54.7"  E