GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel is a world-wide leading institute of marine research. We investigate chemical, physical, biological and geological processes of the seafloor, oceans and ocean margins and their interactions with the atmosphere. We also bridge the gap between basic and applied science in several areas. With this broad spectrum of research initiatives, GEOMAR is globally unique. The GEOMAR is a foundation under public law jointly funded by the German federal (90%) and Schleswig-Holstein state (10%) governments. GEOMAR has a staff of approximately 1,000 (2020) individuals and an annual budget of ~80 Million Euros.
The institutes’ mandate is the interdisciplinary investigation of all relevant aspects of modern marine sciences, from sea floor geology to marine meteorology. Research is conducted worldwide in all oceans and adjacent seas.
The institute has four major research divisions:
- Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics
- Marine Biogeochemistry
- Marine Ecology
- Dynamics of the Ocean Floor.
GEOMAR cooperates closely with the University of Kiel in the education of future marine scientists. Curricula include “Physics of the Earth System: Meteorology – Oceanography – Geophysics” for the Bachelor’s degree and internationally oriented Master’s courses such as “Climate Physics: Meteorology and Physical Oceanography” and “Biological Oceanography.” The institute also provides additional contributions to other curricula, such as Geology and Geophysics. GEOMAR also has cooperative programmes with other universities around the world, and special programmes for pupils and teachers aim to stimulate interest in the marine sciences at an early stage.
In addition, the institute operates three research vessels, state-of-the-art equipment such as the manned submersible JAGO, the deep-sea robots ROV KIEL6000, PHOCA and ABYSS as well as several major laboratories, access to high-performance computing facilities and an attractive public aquarium.
Since the end of 2017, GEOMAR operates a science and logistic station on the Cap Verdean Islands, the Ocean Science Centre Mindelo.
GEOMAR is among the three leading institutions in the field of marine sciences in Europe. Jointly with the National Oceanography Centre in the United Kingdom and Ifremer in France, GEOMAR has established the “G3 group” of national marine research centres.
GEOMAR cooperates with a number of small companies active in marine technology and science, some of which were founded by former staff members of the institute.
In addition, GEOMAR is active in a number of national and international committees and strategic alliances such as the German Alliance for Marine Research (DAM), the German Marine Research Consortium (KDM), the German Climate Consortium (DKK), the European Marine Board and the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO).
Safeguarding the Blue Planet – Eight Recommendations to Sustainably Use and Govern the Ocean and Its Resources
Over 30% of the world’s population lives within 100 km of the oceanic coast. More than three billion people rely on fishing and other ocean-related livelihoods. The ocean is a biodiversity hotspot and moderates the climate, having absorbed around 40% of the world’s total carbon emissions. Oceanscapes provide an essential cultural good, offer recreational opportunities, health benefits, artistic inspiration and an entire cosmology and way of life for indigenous communities. However, anthropogenic pressures have seriously impacted the ocean and threaten its ability to provide human societies with the required climatic and ecosystem conditions for life on earth. The German G7 presidency has proposed a G7 “Ocean Deal” for the sustainable use, protection and effective governance of the ocean and its resources. Several ongoing global ocean governance processes require strong multilateral leadership and close alignment between the G7, in particular in this period of serious international tensions following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. At the One Ocean Summit in February 2022, global leaders have put forth first commitments to make 2022 a decision year for the ocean. Building on the final declaration of the summit and the UK G7 Ocean Decade Navigation Plan, we highlight that a G7 “Ocean Deal” should include provisions for 1) ambitious ocean governance to safeguard ocean health and climate (in the G7’s own waters and through leadership in international settings), 2) improving ocean observation, data infrastructure and knowledge sharing, and 3) financing the transition towards more sustainable interactions with the ocean. Specifically, we recommend that G7 states:
1a. Eliminate national subsidies that contribute to overfishing and push to finalize the related WTO agreement; step up international cooperation, financial & technical assistance to prevent IUU fishing.
1b. Reduce marine debris through a comprehensive global agreement on plastic pollution.
1c. Pause deep sea mining until risks are better understood and a transparent, inclusive and accountable institutional structure is in place that guarantees the effective protection of the marine environment.
1d. Expand marine protected areas in line with the proposed goal of at least 30% by 2030, and accelerate work in the coming months to successfully finalize negotiations for a legally binding instrument to conserve and sustainably use marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ).
1e. Fully recognize the importance of the ocean-climate nexus and strengthen the ocean dimension in key climate negotiations.
2a. Adopt a legal framework and binding commitments for a sustained and shared global coordination of ocean observations and infrastructure on marine data, compliant with FAIR and CARE principles.
2b. Ensure long-term, guaranteed funding, clear institutional affiliations, coordinated and integrated data products to enable continuous, comprehensive observations supporting policy monitoring & evaluation
3a. Redesign and scale up ocean finance by increasing funding of early-stage, nature-positive and science-based opportunities, and large-scale investment into zero-carbon, resilient and nature-based coastal blue infrastructure, and by integrating ocean criteria into sustainability finance frameworks (EU Taxonomy, Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD)).