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The Federal Republic of Germany was one of several countries that responded to the 1972 US invitation to help plan a new program based on early DSDP accomplishments. When the International Phase of Ocean Drilling (IPOD) was initiated in 1975, 20 German scientists had already been members of Glomar Challenger scientific parties.

During the early 1970s, Eugen Seibold and Hans Closs were among those most instrumental in organizing German participation in ocean drilling. Seibold was at that time Chairman of the Senate Commission for Oceanography of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, the German equivalent to the US National Science Foundation), while Closs was Head of the Department of Geophysics of the Bundesanstalt fur Bodenforschung at Hannover, FRG (now Bundesanstalt fur Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe, BGR, the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources). Friedrich Wilckens of the Federal Ministry for Research and Technology (BMFT) and Franz Goerlich of DFG also contributed significantly to forming and maintaining a "critical mass" of German DSDP scientists.

Although most of the scientists initially approached by DFG and BMFT were enthusiastic about the possibility of working with the world's best drilling researchers, others were concerned about the limited number of German marine geoscientists, fearing that this resource would quickly become exhausted if each DSDP leg required a German scientist to go to sea and then concentrate for a year or two on the resulting data and samples. On the other hand, it was expected that the number of seagoing scientists would increase with time as a consequence of guaranteed participation in each Glomar Challenger cruise and the increasing number of German research cruises that would be dedicated to surveying drilling targets. In fact, the number of German scientists involved in ocean drilling has more than tripled since the country became an IPOD member.

Germany's IPOD science plan, finalized on February 13, 1973, called for DFG and BMFT to share ODP membership costs, and for DFG to be responsible for scientific activities related to IPOD. This arrangement continues today, with BGR coordinating the German scientific contribution and providing administrative assistance to DFG. There is close cooperation between the ODP community and the German continental drilling program.

The German geoscientific community submitted 49 ODP-related proposals to the DSDP/ODP Schwerpunktprogram (Priority Program) for the period from July 1993 to June 1994, and the Priority Program review board recommended 45 of them for funding. In both 1992 and 1993, approximately 3.75 million deutsche marks were allocated to the Priority Program for research, as well as for travel to ODP cruises and meetings, maintaining the German ODP office at BGR, and distributing such information as ODP Proceedings, German ODP circulars, panel meeting reports, etc. In addition, along with host institutions, BGR organizes an annual German ODP colloquium, and several million deutsche marks are allocated annually to support surveys of potential ODP drill sites by the German long-range research vessels Meteor, Polarstern, and Sonne.

Since Germany became a member of IPOD, 166 German scientists have participated in drilling cruises, and some 150 scientists currently involved in research based on the drilling program assure continued German support of the Ocean Drilling Program into the next century.

A refugee from East Germany in 1960, Helmut Beiersdorf went to Goettingen (West Germany) to study geology. Following completion of his doctorate at the University of Goettingen, he joined the Bundesanstalt fur Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BGR) at Hannover, specializing in the exploration of seabed mineral resources. This took him on many research cruises in all oceans, including a Glomar Challenger cruise. He is Head of Basic Geology and Marine Geology at BGR, coordinates the ODP Priority Program, and represents the German Ocean Drilling Program community on the JOIDES Executive Committee.
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Title Annotation:25 Years of Ocean Drilling; Ocean Drilling Program report
Author:Beiersdorf, Helmut
Date:Dec 22, 1993
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