Published on 17.10.2023

Helmholtz Imaging takes a Deep Dive into the Ocean

Group picture of a meeting of the Pelagic Imaging Consortium and Helmholtz Imaging on 5 October 2023 at DESY

The Pelagic Imaging Consortium met with Helmholtz Imaging to get to know each other, find synergies, and lay the groundwork for future endeavors.

On 5 October 2023, 41 representatives from Helmholtz Imaging (HI) and the Pelagic Imaging Consortium (PIC) convened at the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY for a productive one-day workshop initiated by PIC. The Pelagic Imaging Consortium comprises researchers from the Helmholtz Alfred Wegener Institute, Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, the Helmholtz Centre HEREON, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ as well as associated researchers from different German universities. They all use imaging technologies to observe the huge variety of marine organisms – from small algae, via crustaceans and jellyfish to large fish, of marine particles and, sadly, nowadays also plastics within the free water body – the pelagic zone – of lakes, rivers, all oceans and their marginal seas. The resulting data is used to monitor water quality, to understand pelagic food webs, to quantify the amount of carbon dioxide that is transferred into the deep ocean and to analyze the impacts of global change on pelagic ecosystems. The workshop served to build connections between PIC and HI, to showcase the HI portfolio to the pelagic imaging community of the Helmholtz Association, to identify synergies, and to discuss future plans.


The workshop began with insights into pelagic imaging projects and challenges at the different Helmholtz Centers, as well as at the Universities of Bielefeld, Kiel and Konstanz. In the second part, Helmholtz Imaging and Helmholtz Federated IT Services presented their support portfolios, demonstrating how PIC can benefit from these services. A user’s perspective on the HI Project DIPLO rounded off the morning session. The afternoon session featured presentations on pelagic imaging workflows, problems, solutions, and an overview of data management services available at different Helmholtz Centers. The day concluded with a tour of PETRA III, thanks to Johannes Hagemann, coordinator of the HI project SmartPhase.


The workshop concluded on a highly positive note, with both PIC and HI eager to collaborate on various initiatives. Planned actions include the establishment of a web presence for PIC on HI’s modalities platform, reaching out to the HI HelpDesk for imaging-related inquiries, planning a satellite meeting at the 4th Helmholtz Imaging Conference in spring 2024, and organizing a hands-on workshop on image processing.

A heartfelt thank you to all participants, organizers, and contributors for making this workshop a success!

Helmholtz Imaging Portfolio & Research
Pelagic Imaging Consortium