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Major scientific interests: Deep-Sea Ecology, Microbial Biodiversity

Pelago-benthic coupling in Polar Seas; Methane biogeochemistry; Ecology of chemosynthetic and extreme environments; Microbial biodiversity; Microbial processes of early diagenesis in deep-sea sediments; Effects of pressure and temperature on microbial processes

© Image: Alfred-Wegener-Institut / Kerstin Rolfes


  • since 2017 Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Zentrum für Polar und Meeresforschung
  • since 2009 Professor of Geomicrobiology, University of Bremen, and Leader of the HGF-MPG Research Group on Deep Sea Ecology and Technology
  • 2008 Full Professor for Microbiology Jacobs University Bremen
  • 2003-2008 Associate Professor of Microbiology, Jacobs University Bremen
  • 2001-2003 Assistant Professor of Microbiology, International University Bremen
  • 1993-1996 Doctorate in Biology, University of Bremen
  • 1986-1992 Diploma in Biology, University of Hamburg


  • since 2014 Chair of the Steering Committee of Wissenschaft im Dialog (WiD)
  • since 2015 Member, Senate of the German Research Foundation (DFG)
  • 2014-2016 Chair of the Scientific Commission, Science Council of Germany (Wissenschaftsrat)
  • since 2014 Member, Senate of the Leibniz Association
  • since 2012 Vice Director of the MARUM Cluster of Excellence, University of Bremen
  • 2010-2016 Member, Scientific Commission, Science Council of Germany (Wissenschaftsrat)


  • 2015-2019 7FP EU project AtlantOS ocean observation
  • 2015-2017 JPI Oceans Ecological Aspects of Deep Sea Mining
  • 2014-2020 FRAM Frontiers in Arctic Marine Monitoring – HGF Research Infrastructure
  • 2012-2017 ERC Advanced Grant – ABYSS (Assessment of Bacterial Life and Matter Cycling in Deep-Sea Surface Sediments)

Honours and Memberships

  • 2020 Mercator-Professur of the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
  • 2019 Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • 2019 Robert L. and Bettie P. Cody Award
  • 2019 Leibniz-Ring-Hannover
  • 2018 Deutscher Umweltpreis
  • 2018 Communicator Award, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation)
  • 2017 Copernicus Medal
  • 2017 Carl Friedrich Gauß Medal
  • since 2016 Member of the European Academy of Sciences
  • since 2014 Hector Fellowship
  • 2014 Hector Wissenschaftspreis
  • 2013 International Ecology Institute Prize (ECI)
  • 2011 Elected Member of the Academy of Sciences and Literature Mainz
  • 2010 External Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society
  • 2009 Distinguished Professor, Jacobs University
  • 2009 Gottfried-Wilhelm-Leibniz Prize of the DFG
  • 2007 Teaching Award MARMIC
  • 2006 Teaching Award MARMIC
  • 2006 Medaille de la Societé d’Oceanographie de France
  • 2005 Teaching Award MARMIC




Emil-Abderhalden-Str. 35
06108 Halle (Saale)

Phone 0345 - 47 239 - 122
Fax 0345 - 47 239 - 139
E-Mail archiv @leopoldina.org