Research

Research mission

The overall research goal of the Center for Geomicrobiology is to understand how prokaryotic microorganisms drive processes in the geosphere and control the coupling of essential element cycles that ultimately affect ocean chemistry and global climate.

Scientific background

Deeply buried sediments constitute the largest ecosystem on Earth in terms of volume and organic carbon pool. They harbor an important part of all prokaryotic organisms on Earth and the discovery of these microorganisms has profoundly changed our perspective on the limits of living organisms. Yet, this ecosystem, a compelling and fascinating component of planet Earth, is the least explored  part of the global environment.

Major research goals

  • To develop and adapt methods to detect the activity of subsurface microbial populations in order to explore the diversity and function of the marine “deep biosphere” and how it differs from the much more active surface biosphere.
  • To understand how microbial life under extreme energy limitation may thrive in spite of near-zero growth with calculated mean generation times that may reach thousands of years.

Strategic goals

To promote an interdisciplinary co-operation between microbiology and geoscience.

To train and educate PhD students and post-doctoral junior scientists.

Main research areas

  • Diversity of the sub-seafloor biosphere
  • Subsurface microbial physiology
  • Biogeochemistry of marine sediments
  • Single-cell techniques
  • Electro biogeochemistry
  • Slow life
  • Shallow Gas
  • Arctic Research: Life in the Cold
  • Drilling into the deep biosphere