In her work as a scientist, Prof. Dr. Karin Lochte combines the micro and the macro: her research focus is on bacteria, plankton, and other microorganisms in the sea, and the role they play in regulating material cycles in the oceans, and thus their significance in regulating global climate. After gaining a doctorate in marine biology, she spent many years working in Kiel, and in 2007 was appointed director of the prestigious Alfred-Wegener-Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven.

Prof. Dr. Karin Lochte was born in 1952 in Hanover where she studied biology, chemistry and philosophy at the Technische Universität; she also qualified as a secondary school teacher. She next moved to the Marine Science Laboratories at Menai Bridge (University of Wales), where in 1984 she completed her doctoral thesis on the subject of Microbiological observations at sea water discontinuities. After working at Kiel’s Institute of Oceanography (IfM), the Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, and qualifying as a lecturer (‘habilitation’) at the Universität Bremen, in 1995 she took charge of the Biological Oceanography department at the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research in Warnemünde (IOW). From 2000 to 2007 Karin Lochte was the director of Biological Oceanography research at the Leibniz Institute for Marine Sciences (IFM-GEOMAR) in Kiel before her appointment as director of the Alfred-Wegener-Institute in Bremerhaven in 2007.

GEOMAR’s director Peter Herzig, Federal Minister for Education and Research Annette Schavan, Karin Lochte, and Till Keulen of Deutsche Bank (left to right). Photograph: J. Steffen, GEOMAR

In recognition of her outstanding achievements in the field of marine biology, Prof. Dr. Karin Lochte was awarded the ‘Deutscher Meerespreis’ in 2010. The presentation was held on 26 April 2010 at the GEOMAR Institute in Kiel. GEOMAR’s director Peter Herzig congratulated Karin Lochte, while at the same time thanking her for her valuable co-operation: “Where the interests of German oceanography are concerned, Professor Lochte has long been a reliable partner, as she currently is in her role as chair of the DFG senate commission on oceanography”. Till Keulen of Deutsche Bank in Kiel stressed: “Close co-operation between business and science, and interdisciplinary exchange between researchers and economists, especially at international level, are essential in today’s global society. We are delighted to honour the renowned biologist and researcher Prof. Dr. Karin Lochte for her innovative and outstanding work in the field of oceanography and for communicating it to the wider public.”

Prof. Dr. Annette Schavan (left) and Prof. Dr. Karin Lochte. Photograph: J. Steffen, GEOMAR

The Federal Minister for Education and Research, Prof. Dr. Annette Schavan, delivered the laudatory address: “Karin Lochte is an outstanding scientist with significant experience both nationally and internationally”, the Minister said. “Climate research today is unimaginable without polar research such as you conduct, Professor Lochte - and that at the highest level. In addition to your first-class work as a scientist, you take an active role in a number of national and international committees, and thus make a crucial contribution to the co-ordination of research policies internationally.” Prof. Lochte expressed her thanks for the award by saying she was delighted to receive it: it represented recognition both of the contribution to science made by her and her colleagues, and of her efforts to promote marine research in a number of bodies both at national and international level.

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