Earth systems research (4 projects)

A key issue in the field of earth systems research is the analysis of how the systems and processes that determine life on our planet function and interact with one another. These activities thus constitute basic research on improving our understanding of the Earth as a system. The main challenges in this field include developing interdisciplinary-based standards for long-term data and evaluation systems, improving understanding of climate-induced changes in the flows of materials and energy in the earth system, monitoring and early warning systems for identifying natural and anthropogenic natural hazards, identifying human claims on coastal area use with the aim of making development plans for effective natural resource management more sustainable and developing innovative measurement procedures and techniques for automated and autonomous monitoring within the context of marine observation systems.

Dr Gayane Asatryan

Plankton and productivity in the polar region during the Paleogene (P4 Project)

This project focusses on the significance of the ocean carbon pump, a process in which phytoplankton help remove CO2 from the atmosphere and store it in the world's oceans, and also looks at the impact of global warming on this process. The Paleogene serves as a reference period as atmospheric carbon levels and average temperatures were as high then as they are predicted to be in our future.

Institute: Museum für Naturkunde - Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science
Website: Link 1, Link 2
E-mail: Gayane.Asatryan(at)

Dr Christina Richards

Genomics and Epigenomics of Plant Invasion

Invasive species displace native species and cause considerable economic damage. This project brings together a team of scientists from the USA, China and Germany to apply their broad-ranging expertise to investigating the various mechanisms of invasion across ecosystems and the impact of climate change on invasive plant species.

Institute: University of Tübingen
Website: Link

E-mail: clr(at)

Dr Helmuth Thomas

The Ocean's Alkalinity: Connecting geological and metabolic processes and time-scales

The ocean's alkalinity performs a regulatory function, acting as a buffer against the influence of natural or anthropogenic disturbances to CO2 and pH conditions. The project examines the extent to which global climate change, as well as efforts to mitigate it, can disrupt the natural balance of alkalinity.

Institute: Helmholtz-Zentrum hereon
E-mail: helmuth.thomas(at)

Dr Henry Wu

Witnesses to the Climate Emergency: Ocean acidification crisis and global warming observations from tropical corals (OASIS)

The OASIS project deals with the development of ocean acidification in tropical regions. The results will provide valuable data that will aid understanding of the process of CO2 uptake into the oceans and the magnitude of global ocean acidification. These will be useful in drawing conclusions about the changing climate parameters.

Institute: Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT)
Website: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3
E-mail: henry.wu(at)

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