FRAM: A multidisciplinary observatory in the North Atlantic - Arctic Ocean transition zone

Ingo.Schewe [ at ]


Since about fifteen years the Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung (AWI) conducts time-series observations in the transition zone between the North-Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean. Activities are focused on water mass exchange through Fram Strait and ecosystem studies at the deep-sea observatory HAUSGARTEN. The location in Fram Strait – being the sole deep connection between the North-Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean – is of special interest with respect to the exchange of heat and freshwater between the Arctic and lower latitudes. The Fram Strait ecosystem is expected to be particularly vulnerable to Global Change related variations in environmental conditions, including the progressive sea-ice retreat. Obtained time series of physical and biological observations demonstrate the tight connection between abiotic habitat properties and ecosystem characteristics. These findings clearly advocate for a multidisciplinary and multi-scale approach that combines fixed-point and region-wide time-series observations. There are motivated plans for the extension of the current observations and the transition towards the integrated deep-sea observatory FRAM (FRontiers in Arctic marine Monitoring). In addition to the integration of existing physical and ecosystem observation components to fully exploit synergies, strategies for FRAM also include the implementation of novel instruments (e.g., ice-tethered platforms, profiling moorings, benthic crawlers, biooptical instrumentation) to extend observation-capacities in space and time – including periods of limited access due to permanent ice-coverage. FRAM represents a key site of the European Multidisciplinary Seafloor and Water Column Observatory EMSO, and a member of the Long-Term Ecological Research - Network (LTER). FRAM contributes to the ESFRI projects SIOS (Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observing System) and ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observation System). As part of the Fixed-point Open Ocean Observatory network FixO3 (7th framework EU-program;, the FRAM infrastructure provides coordinated, free-of-charge access to external users under the objective of Transnational Access (TNA).

Item Type
Conference (Poster)
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Research Networks
Publication Status
Event Details
Arctic Observing Summit 2014, 09 Apr 2014 - 11 Apr 2014, Helsinki, Finland.
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Schewe, I. , Janssen, F. , Boebel, O. , Bracher, A. , Kanzow, T. , Metfies, K. , Nöthig, E. M. , Schauer, U. , Soltwedel, T. and Boetius, A. (2014): FRAM: A multidisciplinary observatory in the North Atlantic - Arctic Ocean transition zone , Arctic Observing Summit 2014, Helsinki, Finland, 9 April 2014 - 11 April 2014 .

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