Centre for Deep Sea Research
New master course

Field-based research course on hydrothermal systems and the potential impacts of mineral mining

Members of the Center for Deep Sea Research and the University of Athens have received funding from Akademia Avtalen to organize a field-based course on the Island of Milos (Greece). Here is the description and the application link.

Hot gas venting at the shallow hydrothermal system in Paleochori Bay, Milos (Greece).
Sven Le Moine Bauer

Main content

Course title

Field-based research course on hydrothermal systems and the potential impacts of mineral mining

Background and course description

Technologies linked to the transition to green energy require an ever-increasing amount of various elements such as copper, zinc, cobalt, lithium, and rare earth elements. In light of the current geopolitical situation and the uncertainties this provokes, some countries like Norway have initiated a process to assess the feasibility and consequences of deep sea mining, including in hydrothermal systems. Hence, access to knowledge on deep sea hydrothermal processes and ecosystems is going to be critical both for decision makers and for the emerging industry.

In this course, we want to provide students with research experience at the hydrothermal system of Milos (Greece). This hydrothermal system is a shallow analogue to deep sea vents, and an ideal place for students to be trained in systemic hydrothermal investigation. Students with background in marine geophysics, macrobiology, geomicrobiology and geochemistry will work together to achieve an understanding of the system, how minerals are formed and how to assess the potential environmental impact of exploiting these resources. You will be involved with actively contested questions, empirical observation, cutting-edge technologies, and the sense of excitement that comes from working to answer important questions. By the end of this course, students will have learned the process of thorough and rigorous scientific investigation, including result presentation and discussion.

Target students

The course is primarily aimed at master students with interest in the study of hydrothermal systems and deep sea mining. PhD students will be admitted if positions remain available. The students must have background in one of the following fields: marine macrobiology, marine microbiology, marine geochemistry/geology, or marine geophysics. Some basics in programming is useful. The course involves active freediving, and as such we recommend that students that applies are comfortable with diving to 5 m depth. Students at the University of Bergen will be given the possibility to train diving prior to the course.

Organisation and cost

The field course will take place on the Island of Milos (Greece) from the 14th to the 24th of October 2023, but some work will also be required before and after the field course. Students need to arrive in Athens the 13th of October the latest, and will be back in Athens the 24th in the evening. More information regarding the organisation of the course will be provided upon acceptance of the student.

There are no tuition fees for the course. For students enrolled at the University of Bergen the following expenses are covered: return ticket Bergen/Athens/Milos, accommodation and meals during the stay on Milos. Students not affiliated to the University of Bergen will have to pay their own expenses. All course participants will be located at the same hotel on Milos, for which non-UiB students will have to pay 400 euros for the duration of the course.

UPDATE 30/05/2023: In the light of the current devaluation of NOK in relation to EURO, UiB students will also be asked to participate with 200NOK per day, meaning 2 000NOK for the whole course.

Assessment and ECTS

The course will give 5 ECTS (approximatively 125 hours work). Students will be evaluated through a report and oral presentations.

Teaching team

Paraskevi Nomikou, Killias Stefanos, Othonas Vlasopoulos and Eirini Anagnostou from the University of Athens, Steffen Jørgensen, Bjarte Hannisdal, Pedro Ribeiro, Thibaut Barreyre and Sven Le Moine Bauer from the University of Bergen.

Course responsible and contact for further information

Sven Le Moine Bauer

Application and contact

Students can apply to the course through the following link.

The deadline for application is set to the 5th of July 2023. The results of the application will be given before the 15th of July.

Note that in the application you will be requested to select one of the following fields you consider yourself a student in: marine macrobiology, marine microbiology, marine geochemistry, or marine geophysics.

As well, you will have to upload a 3-page pdf file, with your academic CV on the first page (mainly the classes you took and any other experience that is relevant to the course), a recommendation letter from a teacher or supervisor on the second page, and on the third page a description of your background, your interest for the course, and a short essay on deep sea mining. Note that your personal opinion on deep sea mining is irrelevant to the selection process.