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Photo: Alfred Wegener Institute / Kerstin Rolfes

Professor Dr

Antje Boetius

Year of election: 2009
Section: Earth Sciences
City: Bremen
Country: Germany
CV Antje Boetius - English (PDF)
CV Antje Boetius - German (PDF)

Research

Research Priorities: Polar research, biological oceanography, marine microbiology, deep-sea ecosystems, molecular ecology, geomicrobiology

Antje Boetius is a German marine researcher and microbiologist who specialises in questions regarding marine material cycles and biodiversity as well as the investigation of deep-sea ecosystems using underwater robots. Her research currently focuses on the effects of climate change on the Arctic Ocean’s biogeochemistry and biodiversity.

Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven, she is currently focusing on the effects of climate change on the biogeochemistry and biodiversity of the Arctic Ocean. Antje Boetius researches microorganisms that live on parts of the ocean floor and have a sizeable, long-term impact on the earth system. Large amounts of methane develop in the deep sea, which is stored as methane hydrates in the ocean floor or escapes as gas. Antje Boetius discovered microbial communities that break down a large part of this methane without needing oxygen to do so. This process is of great significance for methane flows in the oceans as well as for the climate system. After all, these microbial communities prevent large amounts of the greenhouse gas methane, 25 times more harmful for the climate than CO2 , from escaping into the atmosphere. Antje Boetius was the first to be able to assign previously unknown microorganisms to this process of anaerobic methane oxidation, AOM for short. She is currently investigating the diversity of deep-sea communities beneath the Arctic ice as well as the effects on the sea floor’s ecosystem when polymetallic nodules are removed.

Boetius’ work decisively contributes to the understanding of a significant process in the global climate cycle. The earth scientist is currently investigating the deep-sea organisms beneath the Arctic ice and the effects of global warming on polar ecosystems.

The majority of Antje Boetius’ work takes place on the high seas. Since 1989 she has participated in some 50 expeditions on German and foreign research ships and taken and analysed probes using numerous innovation methods.

Career

  • since 2017 Director, Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 2012-2018 Vice Director, MARUM Cluster of Excellence, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
  • since 2009 Professor of Geomicrobiology, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
  • 2009 Adjunct Distinguished Professor, Jacobs University Bremen, Bremen, Germany
  • since 2008 Head, Joint Research Group for Deep-Sea Ecology and Technology, Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres and the Max Planck Society, Germany
  • 2003-2008 Head, Microbial Habitat Group, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Bremen, Germany
  • 2001-2008 Professor, International University Bremen (now: Jacobs University Bremen) and Scientific Officer, Geology, AWI, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 1999-2001 Scientific Officer, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Bremen, Germany
  • 1996-1999 Postdoctoral Fellow, Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research, Warnemünde, Germany
  • 1996 Doctorate, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
  • 1993-1996 Doctoral Student, AWI, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 1989-1990 Degree in Biological Oceanography, Scripps Institution of Oceanography San Diego, University of California, San Diego, USA
  • 1986-1992 Degree in Biology, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

Functions

  • 2023 Fellow of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Berlin, Germany
  • 2014-2020 Chairperson, Steering Committee, Wissenschaft im Dialog (WiD), Berlin, Germany
  • since 2015 Member, Senate, German Research Foundation (DFG), Germany
  • 2014-2016 Chairperson, Scientific Commission, German Science and Humanities Council, Berlin, Germany
  • since 2014 Member, Senate, Leibniz-Association, Germany
  • 2010-2016 Member, German Science and Humanities Council, Berlin, Germany
  • Reviewer for numerous journals and awarding authorities

Projects

  • 2015-2019 Project “AtlantOS – Towards an integrated All-Atlantic Ocean Observing System”, European Commission
  • 2015-2017 Joint Action “Ecological Aspects of Deep-Sea Mining”, Joint Programming Initiative Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans (JPI Oceans), Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Germany
  • 2014-2020 Coordinator, Project “FRAM – FRontiers in Arctic marine Monitoring: Permanent Observations in a Gateway to the Arctic Ocean”, AWI Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 2013-2018 Helmholtz Alliance “Robotic Exploration of Extreme Environments – ROBEX”, AWI Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 2012-2017 Advanced Grant “ABYSS (Assessment of Bacterial Life and Matter Cycling in Deep-Sea Surface Sediments)”, European Research Council (ERC)
  • 2009-2018 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Programme, DFG, Germany
  • 2009-2018 Cluster of Excellence, MARUM – Centre for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
  • 2009-2015 Project “BIOACID: Biological Impacts of Ocean Acidification”, Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Germany
  • 2009-2010 Expedition MERIAN, DFG, Germany
  • 2007-2008 Expedition METEOR, DFG, Germany

Honours and Memberships

  • 2022 Professor of the Year, German Association of University Professors and Lecturers (DHV)
  • 2022 Carl-Friedrich-von-Weizsäcker-Prize, German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and Stifterverband
  • 2021 Award of the Klüh Foundation for Further Research into Climate Change, Klüh Foundation, Düsseldorf, Germany
  • since 2021 Foreign Member, Class for Biosciences, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Sweden
  • 2021 Mercator-Professor, The University of Duisburg-Essen, Duisburg/Essen, Germany
  • 2019 Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • 2019 Robert L. and Bettie P. Cody Award in Ocean Sciences, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, USA
  • 2019 Leibniz-Ring-Hannover, Presse Club Hannover, Hanover, Germany
  • 2018 German Environmental Award, The German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU), Germany
  • 2018 Communicator Award, DFG, Germany
  • 2017 Copernicus Medal, Copernicus Gesellschaft, Göttingen, Germany
  • 2017 Carl Friedrich Gauß Medal, Braunschweig Scientific Society, Braunschweig, Germany
  • since 2016 Member, European Academy of Sciences
  • since 2015 Member, European Academy of Microbiology (EAM)
  • 2014 Hector Science Award and Hector Fellow, Hector Foundation, Weinheim, Germany
  • since 2014 Member, European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)
  • 2014 Gustav Steinmann Medal, Deutsche Geologische Gesellschaft (DGGV), Germany
  • 2014 Excellence Professorship, Prof. Dr. Werner-Petersen Foundation, Kiel, Germany
  • 2014 Fellow, American Geophysical Union (AGU), USA
  • 2013 ECI Prize, International Ecology Institute (ECI)
  • 2012 Heinrich-Hertz Visiting Professor, Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany
  • since 2011 Member, Academy of Sciences and Literature Mainz, Mainz, Germany
  • since 2010 External Scientific Member, Max Planck Society, Munich, Germany
  • 2009 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, DFG, Germany
  • since 2009 Member, German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, Germany
  • 2006 Médaille de la Société d'océanographie de France, Société d'océanographie de France, France
  • 1986-1989 Scholarship Student, German Academic Scholarship Foundation, Germany

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