About NWV

The Bremen Society for Natural Sciences

ICYMARE is an event of the Bremen Society for Natural Sciences (“Naturwissenschaftlicher Verein zu Bremen”). In the following, we would like to introduce this society to you. Although it has a pretty long history, this society acts modern and is open for any people interested in natural sciences to join.

History and Aims

At the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century, citizens interested in natural sciences organized themselves in natural history societies. In Bremen, this was, e.g., the “Physical Society” which was later re-named into “Museum Society”. This society organized scientific talks, the members purchased and read scientific books together, and established first museum collections. In these times, shared interest for natural history was already able to overcome class distinctions. As these societies were not stable and consistent enough, the “Bremen Society for Natural Sciences” was founded in 1864. Ever since, the overall aim of the society was and is “to spread scientific knowledge and to promote scientific research, especially in northern Germany”.

This aim is central to the society until today and was defining the Sciences in Bremen for a long time. The connection between professional and laic research is central and helps to transfer the appreciation of science into the broader public. The most important tools to reach these aims are publicly accessible talks, excursions, and the scientific journal of the society “Abhandlungen des Naturwissenschaftlichen Vereins zu Bremen” (“Essays of the Bremen Society for Natural Sciences”).

The Society and the Übersee-Museum in Bremen

The collections of the Museum Society and the Bremen Society for Natural Science grew constantly over the years. The latter society took care for these collections. Together with the Historical Society, a commission was founded with the aim to strategically grew the collections and to found a museum for presenting the collections. After some negotiations regarding care-taking costs, the City of Bremen took over the collections and the subsequent costs to care for them. The rooms at the time were not sufficient any more. At an industrial exhibition in 1890, the idea of a museum was raised. In 1896, the “City Museum of Natural History, Ethnology and Trade”, today Übersee-Museum (directly translated: “Overseas Museum”) was founded. The first director of the museum, Hugo Schauinsland, was also the Chairman of the Bremen Society for Natural Sciences for a short time. Still today, employees of the museum are also at the same time involved in the society. Furthermore, the society organized exhibits for the museum, e.g., a replica of a dinosaur skeleton or the skeleton of a Megaloceros (prehistoric giant deer). Scientifically more important are the zoological and botanical collections which have been and will be the basis of taxonomical, systematical, biogeographical, floristic, and faunistic research.

The Bremen Society for Natural Sciences today

Today, the activities of the Bremen Society for Natural Sciences are mostly organized in working groups. These working groups are dedicated to different groups of botanical or zoological organisms as well as geological sciences. During excursions, organisms may be systematically collected and examined. The results are then later presented in talks or in the scientific journal of the society. Since the 1980s, nature conservation plays an increasing role in such activities. For instance, mapping of organisms, together with the University of Bremen, is of importance as the society is also member of different organizations of environmental protection. Furthermore, the society organizes a public lecture series together with the University of Bremen in the rooms of the Übersee-Museum. The topics of this lecture series go beyond pure faunal and floral reflections into topics of organismic biology and ecology. The society is also involved in the Bremen Award for Local History Research, which supports professional and laic research with topical connection to the region of northwestern Germany.

Marine Sciences in the Bremen Society for Natural Sciences

The founding of the Bremen Society for Natural Sciences dates back to a time where there was not much professional or laic marine research in Bremen. Therefore, the society never had a marine focus. In April 2018, the Association of Marine Sciences was founded within the Bremen Society of Natural Sciences. One working group of this association is the working group ICYMARE, which is organizing the new conference series of the same name. With the aim to establish marine sciences as an inherent part of the society, to connect marine professionals and laics, and to raise awareness of marine knowledge into the public, the Association of Marine Sciences is open for everybody who is interested in the field.