Deep-Sea Biodiversity

The Deep-Sea Biology research group at GEOMAR, in close cooperation with Cape Verdean colleagues, investigates the role of pelagic fauna in the oceanic carbon cycle, conducts time series studies of deep-sea biodiversity and observes the distribution and abundance of deep-sea fauna also in relation to environmental parameters such as temperature and oxygen.

To document deep-sea organisms in their natural environment, scientists conduct in situ observations with camera systems on towed and autonomous platforms and bottom observatories. Furthermore, organisms are also collected with nets and studied with modern molecular biology techniques such as eDNA and DNA barcoding. DNA analysis can also be used to detect a wide variety of deep-sea organisms in water or sediment samples.

This approach has already allowed the documentation of species never before observed in the Atlantic Ocean, new insights into the functioning of organisms in the oceanic ecosystem of the eastern Atlantic, and the prediction of the adaptive potential of organisms to a changing ocean.


News about Marine Life

A research vessel with a dark blue hull and white superstructure at sea

With camera systems, nets and a deep-sea Robot on an Ocean Discovery Journey

International expedition MSM126 sets sail to explore deep-sea habitats around Madeira

A metal gripper arm grips a piece of rock on the seabed

Hydrothermal Mercury – the natural story of a contaminant

Human influences are responsible for the majority of mercury pollution in the ocean

Two zooplankton species

Adapting to hypoxia: Zooplankton influence the efficiency of the biological carbon pump in the Humboldt Current off Peru

New study sheds light on the role of ecological adaptations in the marine carbon cycle

An ice edge by the sea in the sunshine

Funding for Cutting-Edge Research in Climate and Marine Sciences

ERC Consolidator Grants awarded to two scientists at GEOMAR

A red deep-sea jellyfish

Deep-sea mining and warming trigger stress in a midwater jellyfish

New study led by GEOMAR provides insight into the effects of sediment plumes

Squids of the tropical Atlantic
Poster with photos by Uwe Piatkowski, GEOMAR (german)

Squids are among the most striking creatures of the deep sea. This selection takes a look at their impressive diversity and thus illustrates the importance of the tropical ocean as a hotspot of biodiversity. The animals shown here were caught during the METEOR expedition M97 in June 2013 in the central East Atlantic south of Cape Verde. For this purpose, plankton nets were deployed at night or at dusk down to a depth of 4,000 metres. Most of the specimens are still in the larval or juvenile stage and live down to a depth of about 1,000 metres. These typical deep-sea creatures can grow to several metres in length when fully grown.


Deep Sea fishes
Poster with photos by Solvin Zankl (german)

With glowing hinges on their heads, mouths larger than their bodies and dangerous-looking fangs, many of these creatures seem to have stepped straight out of a science fiction film. In fact, these fish live in the deep sea, the largest habitat on our planet. For us humans, it is just as inaccessible, hostile and alien as outer space. The photos shown here are exhibits from the collection of Dr Johannes Kinzer. The marine biologist and former aquarium director of the Kiel Institute of Oceanography (IfM) collected these deep-sea fishes during numerous expeditions in the 1960s and 1970s in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.