Welcome to the Microbial Oceanography Lab at the University of Vienna

Marine microbes are uniquely important to life and form the major pillars of the biosphere. Their unique metabolisms allow marine microbes to carry out many steps of the biogeochemical cycles that other organisms are unable to complete.

Microbial oceanography focuses on deciphering the metabolic activity of Bacteria and Archaea thriving in the open ocean and relating their community composition to the biogeochemical fluxes in the water masses. This requires an interdisciplinary approach linking microbial and molecular ecology to biogeochemistry and to large scale water mass transport studied in physical oceanography.

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Our main focus is the microbial oceanography of the deep ocean where the prokaryotic activity is relatively low compared to the euphotic zone. The deep ocean comprises about 70% of the total ocean volume and hence deep-water microbes mediate a substantial fraction of the biogeochemical cycles with thus far unknown metabolic pathways. We develop and improve available methods in molecular biology and biogeochemistry to make them usable in the most oligotrophic parts of the ocean. Then the information from biology and biogeochemistry is linked for a better understanding of how the microbial community might work in the dark ocean.



Microorganisms that fix inorganic carbon dissolved in the deep sea have a significant impact on the global carbon cycle. The diversity of...


A story of the oceans, phytoplankton, trace elements and carbon. Eric Achterberg from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel will give...


The Microbial Oceanography Course 2016 took place in Banyuls sur Mer in the south of France from the 4-15 July with 16 MSc students attending from the...


Expedition in the Pacific with the German research vessel Sonne. Six members of the microbial oceanography group were invited to join a cruise...


Video Testimonials

Maria Pinto, PhD Student

Chie Amano, PostDoc

Federico Baltar, Assistant Professor