Researcher from DIE on expedition in the Labrador Sea

Photo: Forschungsschiff

The research vessel Maria S. Merian bunkering in Emden, Germany (Credits: Ramona Hägele).

The German research vessel Maria S. Merian has set off on a 48-day research expedition. The goal is to investigate the world’s longest deep-sea channel and learn more about climate change.

On 23 July 2021, 16 scientists and 22 crewmembers left the harbour of Emden for the Labrador Sea crossing the North Atlantic and Canada. Geoscientists from Kiel University (CAU) and the Geological Survey of Canada will conduct their geomorphological research there.

They are aiming to investigate the so far unexplored morphology of the Northwest Atlantic Mid-Ocean Channel (NAMOC), the longest known deep-sea channel in the world, through detailed mapping and sediment sampling. The collected data is crucial to understand the importance of the NAMOC in transporting sediments and nutrients from land to the deep sea in relation to the evolution of the North American and Greenland ice sheets. In mid-August, the team followed the 4.000 km long deep-sea channel northwards in the Labrador Sea.

DIE-Wissenschaftlerin Ramona Hägele beim Aktivieren der Floats

DIE-Researcher Ramona Hägele activating the floats (Credits: Sebastian Krastel).

Ramona Hägele, political scientist at the German Development Institute/ Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), is accompanying the team under the lead of Chief Scientist Prof. Dr. Sebastian Krastel (CAU). For a BMBF-funded project coordinated by GEOMAR that aims at improving and expanding marine carbon observations, they jointly deployed nine biogeochemical floats in the North Atlantic and the Labrador Sea. The measurements of these floats provide essential inputs for climate change scenarios, climate negotiations and policy. DIE covers the political and social science dimensions of the project and investigates the global network system of marine carbon observations, as well as everyday practices from an institutional analysis and epistemological perspective. Thus, as part of her PhD, Ramona Hägele accompanies the expedition from a social science perspective in order to assess which internal and external processes influence the knowledge production on a research vessel and enable interdisciplinarity. Her work focuses on the interaction of scientists and crewmembers with technology through a social anthropological lens using science and technology studies (STS) approaches.

Both projects actively contribute to the goals of the 2030 Agenda, the Seabed 2030 project and the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

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