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.



Congratulations to Elisabeth Clifford on her PhD thesis defense.


There we have it! Two Master students from our department has been granted their title!


Dominance of dissolved extracellular enzymes indicates that deep-sea prokaryotes are associated mainly with particulate matter


Congratulations to Cristina Romera-Castillo on the Lindeman Award of the Association of the Society of Limnology and Oceanography.


There we have it! Another Master student from our department has been granted her title!


Microbial Oceanography Course

Date: 23/06/2019 – 5/07/2019

Location: Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls sur Mer, Banyuls sur Mer, France ...


Video Testimonials

Maria Pinto, PhD Student

Chie Amano, PostDoc

Federico Baltar, Assistant Professor