Marine Biogeochemistry

The oceans regulate our planet’s climate, and the most important mechanism of this regulation is the biologically mediated cycling of carbon, nitrogen and metals in the ocean. We integrate chemical and biological approaches, including seagoing work, to understand these biogeochemical cycles and uncover their feedback to the climate system.

Deep-Sea Ecosystems

The Deep Sea is the last frontier on the Earth. It hosts unique ecosystems, mostly driven by dark energy sources such as submarine volcanoes. With the multidisciplinary approach of IMS, integrated in international programs, we aim to understand deep-sea ecosystems in Turkish Seas in the context of global change and sustainable use of seafloor resources.

Marine Chemical Sensors

Autonomous, robust sensors are needed to overcome the scarcity of observations that limit our understanding of marine ecosystems. We work on increasing the technological readiness levels of existing prototype sensors as well as developing new methods for in-situ sensing of key substrates in the oceans.

METU Deep Sea Research Group is interested in biogeochemical cycles in the ocean, geochemical drivers of seafloor ecosystems (vents, seeps,reducing sediments) and development of novel chemical sensors to study the dynamic environmental processes in situ.


Sediment Geochemistry and Geomicrobiology


Strongly coupled to chemical distributions, the soft bottom seafloor is one of the largest microbial habitats in our planet. We aim to understand the processes that drive this coupled system using diverse analytical chemical and geomicrobial approaches. Both fieldwork and modeling are integral part of this topic.


The primary aim of the research group is studying redox-dependent metal mobilization across seafloor-deep sea interfaces. Research group studies a range of environments representing major deep sea sources of metals to the oceans, such as the continental shelves under oxygen minimum zones (e.g. Black Sea, Marmara Sea, Baltic Sea etc.) and deep sea hydrothermal vents (e.g. EPR, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Lau Basin etc.) Studying metal mobilization is an important aspect for marine sciences since transition metals drive ecosystems as they act as electron acceptors in microbial respiration or as electron donors in chemosynthesis and metal mineral surfaces store and transport organic carbon and phosphorus (direct coupling with biogeochemical cycles). Further, lack of metals (such as iron, Fe) in parts of sunlit ocean limits primary productivity, influencing the amount of anthropogenic CO2 absorbed by oceans. Therefore, studying form, speciation and redox processes of transition metals in different settings with the field and lab based integrated studies are prime goals of the research group.


More specifically, a striking discovery of the last decade was that stable iron could originate from newly discovered sources such as seafloor hydrothermal vents and sediment release. Aside from the recent realization that global dissolved metal fluxes from vents and sediments (interior sources) are at least as high as dust and fluvial inputs (external sources), understanding their chemical stability has profound impacts: these interior sources could be as important as dust input in regulating glacial-scale pCO2 variability. Advancing innovative approaches to detect the fate of these new fluxes, and representing them accurately in global models therefore stands out as a grand challenge of Earth System sciences. Therefore, by applying a nanogeoscience approach to marine sciences, our research group is working to figure out the large gap that covers the redox processes creating metals that pass filters with 200 or 450 nm pore size. Recent studies (check corresponding papers: Yücel et al., 2011, Findlay et al., 2019) showed that nanoparticles (NPs, <200 nm size) is more chemically stable than truly dissolved counterparts, and can play a major role in metal transport and availability to ecosystems.

You can get more information about researches conducted by METU Deep Sea Research Group from the list of recent publications.




2020-2022 | Coordinator, TUBITAK project: DEEPREDOX. DEEPREDOX will investigate for the first time deep-sea redox processes in the Marmara and Black Seas.

2019-2022 | Co-Coordinator, H2020 Coordination and Support Action Project Black Sea CONNECT (with B. Salihoglu), tasked to support the Black Sea Blue Growth Initiative

2018-2020 | Co-investigator, Carbon dioxide dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean, Levantine Basin, TUBITAK Grant

2019-2022 | Co-investigator, Physical oceanography and productivity in the Black Sea, TUBITAK 1001 Grant 


2017-2019 | PI and local coordinator, EMODNET Chemistry Lot 3, EU DG MARE 

2016-2019 | Co-investigator, Biology Meets Subduction, Deep Carbon Observatory

2016-2018 | PI, Particle compositions in Levantine Basin marine boundary layers, METU Internal Grant 

2016-2018 | Co-investigator, Eastern Med. Submarine Canyons, METU Internal Grant

2015-2017 | PI, Modeling Sedimentary Redox Processes in the Black Sea, Reintegration Grant, Turkish Scientific Council

2017-2018 | Co-Investigator. MARMOD Phase 1- Marmara Sea Ecosystem Modelling System, funded by the Ministry of Environment, Turkey


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Contact: Institute of Marine Sciences, Middle East Technical University, Erdemli Campus, P.O.Box 28, 33731, Mersin, Turkey