71 percent of the earth's surface are covered by oceans. They play a crucial role in climate change, offer new energy sources and are home to an incredible variety of organisms. Yet, they are vastly unexplored. To gain better knowledge of the oceans, research vessels are indispensable. The insights gained during expeditions are not only relevant to science, but also to society: They help us to develop strategies against climate change, use the oceans both more efficiently and environmentally friendly and be able to better predict dangers originating in the oceans.
Oceanographers are tracing processes within the ocean with state-of-the-art technology: Remotely operated vehicles, mobile sea floor drill rigs or moorings for long-term acquisition of chemical and physical data. The equipment used is deployed from aboard the research vessels. Thus, an efficient, up-to-date research fleet is important to meet the multifaceted requirements of oceanography.
On the following pages, you can get a better idea of the unique history, characteristics and operational areas of each German research vessel.