One million nautical miles for research


Captain Walter Baschek, the crew and the scientists of the METEOR have something to celebrate. In the course of the the past 23 years, during which the research vessel has carried out operations throughout the world oceans under the coordination of the Control Station Meteor/Merian at the University of Hamburg, the METEOR has covered a million nautical miles (approximately 1.8 mio. km).

Global climate change today and millions of years ago, biodiversity in the deep sea, earthquake risk at the continental margins -- there is hardly a topic in marine research that has not been contributed to by the research vessel METEOR in the course of its 78 expeditions.

At present the METEOR is in the central South Atlantic, over the mid-Atlantic Ridge south of the Island of Ascension. Under the scientific coordination of Dr. Richard Seifert of the University of Hamburg, investigations are being carried out on hydrothermal vents -- regions in which hot water erupts from the earth´s mantel. With the help of a remotely operated underwater vehicle, samples of rocks, sediment and biological material are being collected which will give insight into this unique geological and ecological system.

The METEOR is funded by the German Research Council and the Federal Ministry for Education and Research and is available for use by all German marine scientists. Up to thirty scientists, technicians and students can take part in research cruises on this most tradition-laden of German research vessels. The research work is carried out 24 hours a day on an average of 340 days a year. The ship still has the most modern equipment for all disciplines of marine research: twenty labs and a total of 400 square meters of useable floorspace, room for 20 containers, research winches with wires and glass fiber cables of up to 11 km length, echo sounders capable of three-dimensional mapping of the sea floor and sediment visualization down to one hundred meters´ depth.

The METEOR has been operated by the Hamburg shipping company F. Laeisz since 2006. The operational control and cruise coordination are carried out by the Control Station Meteor/Merian at the University of Hamburg, and the Senate Committee on Oceanography of the German Research Council is in charge of the scientific review process for the expeditions.This combination of public and private responsibility for the operation of the ship has proven to be an ideal constellation.

Further information and press photos can be obtained from the following website:  Opens external link in new windowLeitstelle METEOR/MERIAN


Prof. Dr. Detlef Quadfasel
Captain Niels Jakobi
University of Hamburg, Institute for Physical Oceanography
Tel.: 040 4 28 38-36 40