Under Water

Unter Wasser  (© Max-Planck-Institut für Marine Mikrobiologie, A. Esken)

Research in the sea places high demands on technology. Salty water and cold temperatures as well as darkness and pressure with increasing depth are challenges that must be overcome in order to obtain reliable data. For this, the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology has various devices – some of which it developed itself – that can be used to undertake these complex tasks.




The microprofiler is built for use on the seafloor. There, the device measures the geochemistry of the water and the seafloor. For example, the concentration of oxygen, sulphur, or calcium. It also measures parameters such as the pH value and the temperature. The microprofiler collects data via microsensors that it carefully inserts into the seafloor. The device works non-invasively and does not take water or floor samples. More…

Der Microprofiler © Max-Planck-Institut für Marine Mikrobiologie, V. Carvalho

Benthic chambers

On the seafloor, the interface between floor and water is one of the most important transition areas for the exchange of dissolved substances. A benthic chamber allows on-site measurements of the exchange rates (e.g. of oxygen, methane, and nutrients) between the floor and the water column. More…

Benthic Chamber Module © ROV-Team, Geomar

Autonomous crawler type vehicle Tramper

Deep-sea crawlers are remote-controlled crawler type vehicles intended for use in the deep sea. These are carrier vehicles to which various devices or sensor systems (e.g. the microprofiler) can be attached. Crawlers are used for long-term observations and measurements on the seafloor and can be operated maintenance-free for up to one year. For the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, the Tramper crawler is particularly relevant. The control of the measuring electronics and the data collection of the Tramper are based on developments of the local electronics workshop. Over 12 months, the development engineers were busy building this complicated system in collaboration with colleagues from the AWI team. The benthic chambers are mainly used by the HGF MPG joint research group for deep-sea ecology and technology.

 Further information is available on the AWI website


Lance-A-Lot is an benthic observatory that operates autonomously and performs a series of complex tasks. The system was developed to understand the dynamic interaction of bottom water currents, sediment transport and benthic exchange processes. More...

Lance-A-lot © Max-Planck-Institut für Marine Mikrobiologie, S. Ahmerkamp

Benthic Lander Systems

A lander is an unmanned research device which is used in marine research. Lander are mostly autonomous carrier systems. Attached to them is various research equipment and their task is to bring these devices to the research area on the seafloor and also back up again. More...

Lander (©Max-Planck-Institut für Marine Mikrobiologie, M. Schulz)

Deep Water Incubator

The idea be­hind this device is the in situ in­cu­ba­ti­on of iso­to­pe-la­be­led sub­stra­tes in the meso- and ba­t­hy­pel­agic oce­an ins­tead of con­duc­ting in­cu­ba­ti­ons on deck of a ship. The ap­proach could help to mi­ni­mi­ze de­com­pres­si­on ar­ti­facts du­ring in­cu­ba­ti­on and the­r­e­by lea­ding to ove­r­e­sti­ma­ted turn-over ra­tes of car­bon and ni­tro­gen com­pounds. More...

Deep Water Incubator (©Max-Planck-Institut für Marine Mikrobiologie, B. Fuchs)


The central element is a CTD probe, as it is also known from water sampling rosettes, which are standard on the research vessels. The name CTD comes from Conductivity Temperature Depth. The special feature, however, is a pump that can pump up to 2.5 liters of water per minute from water depths of up to 300 meters to the deck of the research vessel for over an hour. We developed this device ourselves at the institute.

PumpCTD (Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, J. Milucka)
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