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Call Closed: North South Atlantic Training Transect 2015

“There is the life of the plankton in almost endless variety“ -– Sir Alister Hardy

The world’s oceans are the cornerstone of life on earth. Water turned the earth into a blue, habitable planet and the oceans play a key role in the climate system. They cover 71% of the earth’s surface and we are far from understanding all their hidden secrets. Improving our knowledge of the ocean requires a new generation of well-trained researchers that are able to combine practical field work with modern methods like remote sensing or RNA sequencing.

By crossing the Atlantic from North to South, students will get a thorough insight in the fundamental principles of biological oceanography. The aim is to train talented young students on board a research vessel and enabling them to start a promising career in marine sciences. This exciting cruise will bring together participants from Europe and South Africa, through a joint cooperation between the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research & Training (SMART) and the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO).

Please note updated travel times!
Applicants should make sure that they are available between 29 Oct and 2 Dec 2015 to account for pre- and post-cruise events and travel times.

Course description:

Students (graduate level) will be trained in the principles of oceanography and marine biology. Work on board will include lectures, practical exercises and student presentations. Along the North South transect from Bremerhaven to Cape Town, participants will get a hands-on training in deployment and operation of scientific gear (Rosette sampler with CTD sensors, Bongonet, Multinet, and Continuous Plankton recorder), acquisition and processing of the sample material and interpretation of the respective data. Students will be trained in

• The determination of pH, oxygen and alkalinity
• Microscopy of phytoplankton and zooplankton
• Determination of phytoplankton
• DNA/RNA isolation
• Cultivation of species

The aim is to provide talented young students with the skills to follow a career in the fields of marine sciences.

Main speakers include:

Training on board will be carried out by renowned scientists in the field of biological oceanography. The group of instructors comprises inter alia:

Prof. Dr. Karin Lochte, AWI / University of Bremen
Prof. Dr. Karen Wiltshire, AWI / Jacobs University / POGO
Prof. Dr. Maarten Boersma, AWI / Jacobs University
Prof. Dr. Gerald Plumley, AWI / POGO
Prof. Dr. John Field, University of Cape Town
Dr. Pauhla McGrane, SMART/Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology

Course prerequisites and target group:

Applications are accepted from graduates with a background in biological and / or marine sciences. A good command of English is required.

Important notes:

Applicants who are positively evaluated will need to submit a medical history and perform a complete physical exam. This can be done with any general practitioner. Once accepted, detailed information will be provided. The completed medical checklist must be submitted not later than August 10th 2015.

Applicants must hold a valid passport. They should make sure that they are eligible for a tourist visa to enter Germany (starting point) and South Africa (ending point).

Applicants should take into account that the cruise dates are preliminary and may still be subject to change by a few days. Final cruise schedule to be expected for early summer.

Participation quota:

34 students in total.


We are committed to admitting talented students from diverse backgrounds. Accepted applicants will receive a scholarship to cover tuition, travel to Bremerhaven and from Cape Town, lodging and food. Please note: Costs for visa (if applicable) and medical checks cannot be covered.


The online application period for this summer school will close on 7th June 2015. Please apply through the website of the European Campus of Excellence on-line application system:

Please note you will need to first register at the above link to access the on-line application form and upload one PDF document containing the following sections:
1: Proof of registration at a university
2: Personal data sheet (curriculum vitae)
3: Statement of motivation explaining your interest in the course (250 word max.)
4: Short description of bachelor or master project (if applicable)
5: Letter of recommendation from first bachelor/master supervisor or other lecturer who knows you well

Please also include a copy of a valid passport in your upload. We look forward to receiving your application!


The Floating Summer School is a joint project between the Alfred Wegener Institute, the POGO Centre of Excellence and the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research & Training (SMART).

Any questions related to participation should be addressed to Interested applicants from across the island of Ireland can contact

This summer school is jointly supported by the Mercator Foundation and the Nippon Foundation / POGO Centre of Excellence. It is an initiative in the framework of the European Campus of Excellence (ECE)