Mari Heggernes Eilertsen is a postdoc at the Department of Biological Sciences, and part of the Centre for Deep Sea Research. Eilertsen studies animals living in chemosynthesis-based ecosystems, such as hydrothermal vents, cold seeps and organic falls in the deep sea. These ecosystems have a high degree of specialized oranisms that are not found elsewhere, and may thus be particularly sensitive to impacts from human activities. Eilertsens research includes describing new species, biogeography and genetic connectivity, evolutionary history and adaptation.
Since 2020, Eilertsen has been managing the project "Vent & Seep Fauna in Norwegian Waters", funded by the Norwegian Biodiversity Information Centre. The project aims to provide taxonomically updated species lists from hydrothermal vents and cold seeps in the Norwegian deep sea, and DNA barcodes from the registered species. Eilertsen is also work package leader for connectivity in the competence building project EcoSafe, which aims to fill critical knowledge gaps to understand potential environmental impacts of deep sea mining.
Eilertsen is dedicated to communicating knowledge about life in the deep sea, both to deciton makers and to the general public. The last years she has contributed to several consultation inputs related to national processes on marine protected areas and the opening process for deep sea mining, and she also co-authored a scientific background document decribing the natural environment around the Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge.
One example of outreach activites for the general public was OPPLEV Marineholmen in April 2022, where Eilertsen and colleagues from the Centre for Deep Sea Research had a stand with an interactive simulation of deep sea ROV-sampling (see blogpost on OPPLEV Marineholmen here).
At the moment, Eilertsen teaches in the courses BIO212 - Marine community ecology og BIO318 - Current geobiological topics, and in addition she contributes to the field course in faunistics in BIO325 - Ocean Science.
Eilertsen has previously taught in several other courses at the Department of Biological Sciences, for example BIO101 and BIO102 (Organism biology 1 og 2), BIO300B - Biostatistics and BIO232 - Systematic zoology.
- (2023). An Arctic natural oil seep investigated from space to the seafloor. Science of the Total Environment.
- (2022). Hot Vents Beneath an Icy Ocean: The Aurora Vent Field, Gakkel Ridge, Revealed. Oceanography. 12 pages.