The work of the division Epifauna concentrates on organisms living on the marine bottom or directly above the sediment. Taxonically the main focus is marine isopods, especially the typical deep-sea taxa from the abyssal plains from recent expeditions.

We are planning and supporting expeditions with german research vessels and coordinate the sorting of the samples from the epibenthic sled. In our responsibility are samples from the expeditons von DIVA-2 und 3, ANDEEP, SYSTCO, MANGAN und IceAGE1 und 2.

We aim to fix samples from the epibenthic sled for genetic studies using precooled 96% ethanol and establishing a permanent cooling of the samples even during sorting. In our barcoding project we are dealing with sequences of peracarid crustaceans like isopods, amphipods and tanaids from recent expeditions.
The international project IceAGE project (Icelandic marine Animals: Genetics and Ecology) aims to observe and explain patterns of the marine benthic biodiversity around Iceland and adjacent marine regions.

The sampling area is characterised by several local peculiarities like submarine ridges (geographical barriers) and influence of different water masses of different origin. This allows the analysis of factors influencing the distribution and migration of species as well as investigation of the background of biogeographic zonation. Enhanced focus lies on the ridge structure between Iceland and the Faroer Islands in the climatic sensitive region around Iceland. The IceAGE project combines scientific questions of modern taxonomy like pyhlogeography (population genetics and DNA barcoding) with ecological modeling of species distribution.