Centre for Deep Sea Research


Cédric Hamelin

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The Center for Deep Sea Research has direct access to a broad range of marine and analytic facilities. These include regular access to the research vessels G.O. Sars and the Norwegian icebreaker FF Kronprins Haakon. The later is the first icebreaker with the posiblity to operate the ROV through a moonpool in the center of the boat, which allows to continue being operational when surrounded by sea ice. Through national consortia, the Center has access to a Hugin-Konsberg AUV deep sea system, as well as a range of marine geophysc instruments.

UiB and the Center have recently received funding to establish an observatory on Mohns ridge as part of the European Mulitdisciplinary Seafloor and water column Observatory program (EMSO).

The Center and the associated research GEO and BIO departments host several laboratories and give technical expertise for geochemistry and macro- and micro-biology analyses.

Read more about our facilities here:

Marine Facilities

Research vessels

UiB and IMR together operate two ocean-going vessels.

  • RV “G.O. Sars” has state-of-the-art sonar systems, multibeam mapping capabilities and dynamic position systems ideal for deep sea exploration.  As part of the proposed Centre program, there will be yearly international expeditions to the Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge with this vessel.
  • RV Kronprins Haakon, a new Norwegian polar research vessel with ice braking capabilities, will be launched in late 2017. This opens new opportunities for research along some of the ice-covered segments of the AMOR.


The observatory on Mohns ridge is part of the Norwegian branch of the EMSO project. Read more about the observatory here.

Ægir 6000

Through funding from the Norwegian Research Council, UiB has acquired a 6000m-rated ROV system, the Ægir6000. It is a cornerstone of the marine laboratory and the Norwegian Marine Robotics Facility (NORMAR). This new ROV-system will be our primary tool for exploring, sampling and deploying instruments and experiments at deep sea study areas - including the ice covered parts of the Arctic Ocean.

About Ægir 6000

  • a work-class ROV specially equipped for science with samplers and sensors.
  • sufficiently powered to operate seafloor drilling systems and to install and maintain seafloor observatories.
  • designed for operation from both RVs G.O. Sars and Kronprins Haakon (using the latter’s moon-pool when operating in ice-covered water).
  • deployed together with a 1000m+ tether management system (TMS)


JC-DeepSea will also have access to a 3000m-rated Hugin Kongsberg AUV-system.  It is equipped with synthetic aperture sonar and multibeam echo sounder systems for high-resolution seafloor imaging and micro-bathymetry. The Norwegian Research Council has signaled that a new, 6000 m rated AUV is on the road map for national research infrastructures, as a step II in the development of the NORMAR-facility.


The UiB’s Department of Earth Science also hosts modern lab facilities and technical expertise for geochemical, isotopic and microbiological analyses that are available for the Center.

With our current infrastructure, we are able to measure:

  1. major and trace elements in solutions and solids using a range of spectroscopic and mass spectrometry techniques (ICP-OES, ICP-MS, laser ablation ICP-MS, XRF);
  2. light stable isotopes (C, N, O) in solids, gasses and fluids using state-of-the-art mass spectrometry, as well as field-based and trace gas isotope measurements;
  3. radiogenic (Sr, Nd, Hf, Pb) and heavy stable isotopes (Fe, Cu, Zn) using a multi-collector ICP-MS and TIMS with sample preparation routines in a class 1000 clean laboratory; and
  4. diverse dissolved inorganic gases (H2, CO2, CO) and organic compounds (hydrocarbons, NSOs) using gas chromatography.

In addition, we can carry out mineral identification using XRD and electron microscopy (SEM, TEM), and perform sediment studies including XRF and CT core scanning in our Earth Surface Sediment Laboratory. We also have access to the NORDSIM Nordic research facility in Stockholm, where we can carry out in situ microscale analyses of stable (O, S, Fe) and radiogenic isotopes (U, Th, Pb) using an ion microprobe.

Our Geomicrobiology laboratory  is specifically developed for offshore sampling, experiments, culturing, metabolic and genomic characterization of marine and hydrothermal systems. It covers all aspects of modern microbiology including PCR, qPCR, various incubators, high-speed ultracentrifuges, advanced microscopes and equipment for protein purification and analysis.

The UiB Department of Biology hosts modern lab facilities and technical expertise for molecular and morphological analyses as well as seawater facilities for experimental work that are available for the Center.

In addition, we have access to sequencing facilities at UiB and University of Oslo.