EnterDeep – Environmental Impact of Microbial Interaction with Deep Oceanic Crust.
The project is lead by members from the Centre for Deep Sea Research and is funded by the Norwegian Research Council through the Frinatek program (2019-2023).

The primary objective of EnterDeep is to quantify the environmental impact of microbial activity in newly formed oceanic basalt. To achieve this we will use a novel approach to obtain sample material by drilling through a surface-exposed oceanic volcano, thereby circumventing previous obstacles and for the first time, retrieve newly formed subsurface basalt with the aim of investigating the deep biosphere. Further, we will advance the state of the art by deploying a truly interdisciplinary approach combining comprehensive genomics with atomic-scale mineral dissolution measurements, biogeochemical rate modeling, advanced identification of biomolecules and integrated geobiological data analysis, to quantitatively test long-standing hypotheses. This approach will allow EnterDeep to uncover an entirely unexplored province of the deep biosphere and help to answer a number of long-debated, first-order questions, including estimations of global impact of microbial activity, the fidelity of ancient biosignatures and the nature, origin and distribution of microbial colonization of the upper oceanic crust.

Team members: Researcher Dr. Steffen Leth Jørgensen, Prof. Ingunn Thorseth, Postdoc Andreas Türke, Ph.D. candidate (N.N.), University of Bergen, Norway. Prof. Wolfgang Bach, Prof. Andreas Lüttge, Researcher Dr. Wolf-Achim Kahl, University of Bremen, Germany. Researcher Dr. Magnus Ivarsson, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Sweden.

Unveiling the deep biosphere – from Empirical Observation to Process quantification 
The project is a personal grant given to Steffen Leth Jørgensen and is funded by the Trond Mohn Foundation through their recruitment program (2017-2021)

This project aims to establish a research group with high international impact, able to advance our knowledge of the marine subsurface biosphere. Currently, our understanding of the deep marine biosphere primarily stems from observations that rarely allow microbial functions, physiologies or activities to be determined. Hence, we are unable to identify key controlling factors and establish predictive models of ecosystem dynamics. In essence, we are left surprisingly ignorant of Earth’s largest and arguably oldest ecosystem, its functioning, and how it affects our planet.  Progress depends on uncovering the cell physiology of key microbial groups and quantifying the coupling between geochemical landscapes and microbial dynamics. Our research group pursue such progress along two main axes of investigation:

1) Uncovering the physiology of uncharacterised microbial lineages.
2) Advancing from empirical observations to process predictions that connect microbial activity to biogeochemical cycling.

Team members: Researcher Dr. Steffen Leth Jørgensen, Post Doc. Sven Le Moin Bauer, Ph.D. Tor Einar Møller.



Our group is involved in the large-scale drilling project SUSTAIN which revolves around the volcanic Island Surtsey. The SUSTAIN project is a international and interdisciplinary project involving volcanologists, geochemists, petrologists and microbiologists from around the world. Our part of the project is primarily through our participation in the subsurface observatory along with Wolfgang Bach and his group from Bremen and to analyse the native volcanic core material along with Viggo Marteinsson  and his research team on Iceland. The project is funded by a number of contributors, which beside the ICDP also include the Bergen Research Foundation, the K G Jebsen Centre for Deep Sea Research and the former Centre for excellence in Geobiology both from the University of Bergen. For more details visit the official ICDP pages or the blog from lead PI Marie Jackson.