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HGF MPG Joint Research Group for Deep-Sea Ecology and Technology



We congratulate our group leader Antje Boetius for her new position as the new director of the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz-Center for Polar and Marine Research!

Polarstern Blog

Latest publications

Boe­ti­us A., Haeckel M. (2018) Mind the seaf­loor. Sci­ence  359, 34-36. doi:10.1126/science.aap7301


HGF MPG Research Group
The HGF MPG Joint Research Group for Deep-Sea Ecology and Technology.


Since 1.12.2008, the MPI Microbial Habitat group and the AWI Deep-Sea Research group form the Helmholtz - Max Planck Joint Research Group for Deep-Sea Ecology and Technology. Additional information on the work of the group situated at the AWI can be found here.

The microbial habitat describes the physical location and type of environment in which a population of microorganisms live. Hence, this research group studies the physical, chemical, geological hydrological, and biological characteristics of distinct microbial habitats. The goal of our research is to understand structure and change of microbial ecosystems, the formation of niches for microbial populations, and to investigate environmental dynamics and their consequences on the occurrence, biodiversity, and distribution of microbial populations. The uniting topics to all researchers in the group is to obtain 1) “true” quantitative insight to ecosystem structure, dynamics, and biogeochemical fluxes, based on in situ measurements, and 2) insight into the related variations in microbial biodiversity on relevant spatial and temporal scales. The development of novel instrumentation for in situ studies of submarine ecosystems, ranging from coastal sands, reefs, continental margins, and polar waters to hydrothermal vents, enables us in collaboration with the Microsensor group to improve the quantification of transport and reaction, which are dominant factors structuring microbial habitats. Furthermore, we link our in situ biogeochemistry and biodiversity studies closely to the investigation of microbial function in the respective habitats, in collaboration with the department of Microbiology and Molecular Ecology.

Group leader

HGF MPG Joint Research Group for Deep-Sea Ecology and Technology

Prof. Dr. Antje Boetius

MPI for Marine Microbiology
Celsiusstr. 1
D-28359 Bremen




+49 421 2028-860

Prof. Dr. Antje Boetius
Ice Cores
Scientists taking ice cores during a research expedition in the Arctic. Every year, members of our group are going on research expeditions and sampling campaigns around the globe. The destinations range from sandy coastal regions, over warm and cold water corals, to the deep-sea floor at several thousand meters water depth.
Image by Josephine Rapp
Our in situ technology operated aboard research vessels includes landers (image), multi-corers, sediment traps, plankton nets, and ROVs. Other in situ equipment is permanently situated at sea, usually attached to moorings reaching down the entire water column, and includes diverse sensors to monitor physical and chemical parameters of the ocean, as well as sediment traps catching and preserving sinking biotic and abiotic particles.
Image by Josephine Rapp
AOM consortium
Parts of our research focus on thermophilic consortia consist of anaerobic methane-oxidizing Archaea (ANME-1; red) and bacterial partner (HotSeep-1; green). These consortia were sampled and enriched from the Guaymas Basin, Gulf of California. The cells were visualized by CARD-FISH, a standard technique in molecular ecology to identify specific groups of organisms. The micrograph was obtained with a confocal fluorescence laser scanning microscope.
Image by Viola Krukenberg
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