GEOMAR Women's Executive Board Lecture Series Celebrates Anniversary



GEOMAR Women's Executive Board Lecture Series Celebrates Anniversary

[Translate to English:] Prof. Dr. Katja Fennel from Dalhousie University in Halifax (Canada) held the 25th Marie-Tharp Lecture at GEOMAR. Photo: Jan Steffen/GEOMAR

21 November 2918/Kiel. The Northwestern North Atlantic is an area rich in fish with many economically valuable species such as salmon, sea wolf, halibut and spider crab. For several decades, a continuous decline in oxygen concentration has been observed in this area. Prof. Dr. Katja Fennel from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, investigates which physical and biogeochemical factors can explain this oxygen loss and whether its continuation poses a threat to the ecosystem and fisheries. At the 25th Marie-Tharp Lecture she presented her results to the scientific audience at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel.

According to Professor Fennel, the trigger for the oxygen loss off Canada's coast is primarily a change in the circulation of water masses in the Northwest North Atlantic. She explained that, as a result, the water remained longer on the Canadian shelf, especially in the Great Banks area. The longer residence time on the shelf together with a warming of the water with continuous oxygen consumption by microorganisms are the main factors which Prof. Fennel blames for the stronger decrease of the oxygen concentration. This development could become particularly threatening for the Atlantic sea wolf, whose range on the Great Banks is already limited by oxygen-poor regions today.

Prof. Dr. Katja Fennel studied mathematics at the University of Rostock. In 1998 she received her doctorate in marine biology and then moved to the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven. After her first stay abroad at Oregon State University in Corvallis, USA, she accepted a professorship at Rutgers University, USA, in 2002. In 2006 she moved to Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, where she is now Full Professor (Canada Research Chair II) of the Marine Environmental Modelling Group at the Department of Oceanography.

The Marie Tharp Lecture Series (MTLS) is organized by the Women's Executive Board (WEB) of GEOMAR. The WEB invites internationally renowned female scientists to present their scientific work in Kiel and at the same time serve as role models for young female scientists. On the occasion of the 25th MTLS a reception took place after the lecture.