Association of Polar Early Career Scientists

marine-biology-logo-smallWhile polar terrestrial ecosystems appear to be snow and ice deserts most of the time, their marine counterparts bustle with life throughout the year. Vast amounts of plankton and ice-associated organisms sustain the marine, but also major parts of the terrestrial food web, all the way up to the highest predators, including penguins, seals and polar bears. Their annual cycles are extremely seasonal, but the strong plankton blooms in the spring set off a feeding extravaganza that does not only sustain the local fish, bird and sea mammal life, but even causes huge whales to travel to the polar regions over thousands of miles to feast there. Although the planktonic community is generally not very species-rich, its high abundance provides food input for an astonishing diverse and colourful benthic fauna as well. However, systems with low numbers of species are at the same time more vulnerable for impacts of global changes. International and interdisciplinary research efforts attempt to understand the biological responses to warming, sea ice retreat, freshwater input and other anthropogenic impacts such as ocean acidification and pollutants. Various types of models are developed to predict changes in the marine community structure that will impact greatly on these ecosystems and may have major repercussions on a global scale. These predictions can only be made in close collaboration with other disciplines such as physical oceanography and atmospheric sciences.

The ocean does not only cover two thirds of the Earth’s surface thereby linking polar regions and the tropics but it is also home to a multitude of microbial species, fish and mammals, it provides food for many people, and it buffers climate change.

Already now scientists observe rapid sea ice decrease and sea level rise endangering rare species like the polar bear but also entire human settlements in shallow coastal regions. What will happen to the CO2 storage capacity of the ocean with increasing water temperatures? And how will fish, penguins, albatross and seals survive if humans keep harvesting krill? All these questions, concerns, and much more is addressed in the various fields of research related to polar marine science.

This page was put together by Claudia Maturana Bobadilla Chile and Tosca Ballerini.



APECS mentors in marine biology include:

  • Renuka Badhe (Executive Officer, United Kingdom)
  • Andres Barbosa (Senior Researcher, Spain)
  • Andrea Bergamasco (Senior Scientist, Italy)
  • Jørgen Berge (Professor,Norway)
  • Sara Bowden (Secretary, United States)
  • Bruno Danis (Project manager, Belgium)
  • Alexander Dreshchinsky (Russia)
  • Carlos Garcia (Lecturer/Professor, Brazil)
  • Josep-Maria Gili (Research Professor, Spain)
  • Planque Benjamin (Senior scientist, Norway)
  • Elie Poulin (Associated Professor, Chile)
  • Joao Torres (Associate Professor, Brazil)
  • Paulina Uribe (Associated Professor, Chile)


For more information and contact information for these and other mentors, visit the mentor page.

Contact APECS

APECS International Directorate
Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research
Telegrafenberg A45
14473 Potsdam
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