Momentum delegate 2021 - 2022

Mari Heggernes Eilertsen

Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

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I am a postdoctoral researcher at the department of Biological Sciences, University of Bergen, and associated with the Centre for Deep Sea Research. My research focuses on deep-sea biology, and in particular the fauna associated with chemosynthesis-based ecosystems such as hydrothermal vents, cold seeps and organic falls.

Chemosynthesis-based ecosystems (CBEs) present the intriguing combination of high nutrient availability and harsh environmental conditions, and the fauna found here is often specialized and not found outside these ecosystems. I want to describe the biodiversity in CBEs and explore the geographical distributions of species and their habitat specificity. I also aim to understand the biogeographical position of the Arctic CBEs in a global context, and to use genetic tools to study the population connectivity of CBE-adapted species. In addition, I use phylogenetic analyses to learn more about the evolutionary history of CBE-adapted fauna. Moving forward, I want to dive deeper into how environmental conditions shape faunal distributions, and the interactions between organisms in CBEs.