Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Royal Netherlands
Institute for Sea Research
Phone number
+31 (0)222 36 9426
Ocean Systems (OCS)
Tenure track Scientist
  • Deep-sea benthic ecology
  • Deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecology
  • Community response to stress and disturbance
  • Taxonomy (in particular copepods)
  • Deep-sea mining
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Dr. Sabine Gollner

Tenure track Scientist

‘Get to know the deep sea before you possibly make use of it’

Marine biologist Sabine Gollner investigates the various types of life in the deep sea. ‘Half of the earth's surface consists of seas deeper than 200 metres. However, the deep seafloor is definitely not uniform. There are hot springs, wide plains with potato-shaped polymetallic nodules, mountain chains and trenches and coral reefs. Just like on land, there is a lot of variation in the deep-sea landscape. And the deep-sea landscape is also under threat from (future) economic exploitation.’

Artificial nodules

‘We know very little about life in the deep sea. One part of my research focusses on abyssal plains with “polymetallic nodules. Various countries are interested in the extraction of metals, such as cobalt, that are found in these nodules on the ocean floor. However, we still know very little about which forms of life live on and around the nodules, let alone how much damage would be caused if nodules are removed.  I am investigating for example whether the same life-forms can be found on artificial nodules made from clay and on the polymetallic nodules. That could theoretically provide the possibility of offering deep-sea life an alternative should the polymetallic nodules be harvested.’

Isolated sources

‘Also around hot springs, where extremely hot and metal-rich water of one hundred degrees Celsius or more is expelled from the ocean floor, the most exotic life-forms, as well as valuable minerals and metals, can be found. However, before one could possibly use those for the Blue Economy, we first need to get to know the life around those sources. For example, how do the various animals move from one isolated source to the next, many kilometres away?’

Code for deep-sea mining

‘Through my work, I hope to contribute to the drawing up of a future international code of conduct for deep-sea mining. Various countries are currently working on such a code within the International Seabed Authority.’

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Research interest & motivation

My research interests include the ecology of deep-sea communities and how communities are shaped by extrinsic controls and biological interactions over time. I investigate deep-sea faunal biogeography and biodiversity and explore the influence of productivity, stress and disturbance on diversity. To understand community response patterns to disturbance events, I apply multi-disciplinary approaches, combing classical taxonomical and genetic methods, and linking biotic and abiotic data. We collect data through deep ocean expeditions, using for example remotely operated vehicles and other types of advanced technologies. Most of my work has focused on deep-sea hydrothermal vents. This research has taken on special relevance in the light of our increasing demand for mineral resources. Extraction of minerals at hydrothermal vents and at other deep-sea ecosystems may be imminent. Scientific data are strongly needed to help for example elaborating spatial management and environmental impact assessment protocols in the context of deep-sea mineral mining.

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Curriculum Vitae Dr. Sabine Gollner


(19) Gollner S , Kaiser S , Menzel L ,  Jones DOB , van Oevelen D,   Menot L,  Colaço AM, Brown A, Canals M, Cuvelier D, Durden JM, Gebruk A, Aruoriwo EG, Haeckel M, Mestre NC, Mevenkamp L, Morato T,  Pham CK, Purser A, Sanchez-Vidal A, Vanreusel A, Vink A, Martinez Arbizu P (in press) Resilience of benthic deep-sea fauna to mineral mining activities. Marine Environmental Research.


(18) Gollner S, Stuckas H, Kihara TC, Laurent S, Kodami S, Martinez Arbizu P (2016) Mitochondrial DNA analyses indicate high diversity, expansive population growth and high genetic connectivity of vent copepods (Dirivultidae) across different oceans. PLoS ONE 11 (10): e0163776


(17) Durden JM, Billett DSM, Brown A, Dale A, Goulding L, Gollner S, Murphy K,
Pape E, Purser A, Rolin J-F, Smith A, Stewart I, Turner PJ, de
Wachter T, Weaver P, van Dover CL, Verlaan P, Jones DOB (2016) Report on the
MIDAS workshop on environmental management of deep-sea mining. Research
Ideas and Outcomes  DOI: 10 3897/rio 2 e10292


(16) Gollner S, Govenar B, Martinez Arbizu P, Mills S, Nadine Le Bris, Weinbauer M, Shank T, Bright M (2015) Differences in recovery between deep-sea hydrothermal vent and vent-proximate communities after a volcanic eruption.  Deep Sea Research I 106:167-182  DOI: 10 1016/j dsr 2015 10 008


(15) Klose J, Polz MF, Wagner M, Schimak M, Gollner S, Bright M (2015) Endosymbionts escape dead hydrothermal vent tubeworms to enrich the free-living population.  PNAS  DOI: 10 1073/pnas 1501160112

(14) Gollner S, Govenar B, Fisher CR, Bright M (2015) Size matters at deep-sea hydrothermal vents: different diversity and habitat fidelity patterns of meio- and macrofauna.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 520: 57-66


(13) Plum C, Gollner S, Martinez Arbizu P, Bright M (2015) Diversity and composition of the copepod communities associated with megafauna around a cold seep in the Gulf of Mexico with remarks on species biogeography.  Marine Biodiversity  DOI: 10 1007/s12526-014-0310-8


(12) Gollner S, Miljutina M, Bright M (2013) Nematode succession at deep-sea hydrothermal vents after a recent volcanic eruption with the description of two dominant species  Organisms Diversity & Evolution  DOI:10 1007/s13127-012-0122-2


(11) Degen R, Riavitz L, Gollner S, Vanreusel A, Plum C, Bright M (2012) Community study of tubeworm associated epizooic meiobenthos from deep-sea cold seeps and hot vents.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 468:135–148


(10) Gollner S, Fontaneto D, Martínez Arbizu P (2011) Molecular taxonomy confirms morphological classification of deep-sea hydrothermal vent copepods (Dirivultidae) and suggests broad physiological tolerance of species and frequent dispersal along ridge.  Marine Biology 158:221-231  DOI: 10 1007/s00227-010-1553-y


(9) Gollner S, Riemer B, Martínez Arbizu P, Le Bris N, Bright M (2010) Diversity of Meiofauna from the 9°50’N East Pacific Rise across a gradient of hydrothermal fluid emissions.  PLoS ONE 5(8): e12321  doi:10 1371/journal pone 0012321


(8) Gollner S, Ivanenko VN, Martínez Arbizu, Bright M (2010) Advances in taxonomy, ecology, and biogeography of Dirivultidae (Copepoda) associated with chemosynthetic environments in the deep sea.  PLoS ONE 5(8): e9801  DOI:10 1371/journal pone 0009801


(7) Vanreusel A, De Groote A, Gollner S, Bright M (2010) Ecology and biogeography of free-Living nematodes associated with chemosynthetic environments in the deep sea: A Review.  PLoS ONE 5(8): e12449  DOI:10 1371/journal pone 0012449


(6) Bright M, Plum C, Riavitz LA, Nikolov N, Martinez Arbizu P, Cordes EE, Gollner S (2010) Epizooic metazoan meiobenthos associated with tubeworm and mussel aggregations from cold seeps of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Deep-Sea Research II  DOI:10 1016/j dsr2 2010 05 003


(5) Gollner S, Ivanenko VN, Martínez Arbizu P (2008) A new species of deep-sea Tegastidae (Crustacea: Copepoda: Harpacticoida) from 9°50´N on the East Pacific Rise, with remarks on its ecology.  Zootaxa 1866:323-336


(4) Gollner S, Zekely J, Govenar B, Nemeschkal HL, Le Bris N, Fisher CR, Bright M (2007) Tubeworm-associated permanent meiobenthic communities from two chemically different hydrothermal vent sites on the East Pacific Rise.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 337:39-49


(3) Gollner S, Zekely J, Van Dover CL, Govenar B, Le Bris N, Nemeschkal HL, Bright M (2006) Benthic copepod communities associated with tubeworm and mussel aggregations on the East Pacific Rise.  Cahiers de Biologie Marine 47:397-402


(2) Zekely J, Gollner S, Van Dover CL, Govenar B, Le Bris N, Bright M (2006) The nematode community and trophic structure of three macrofaunal aggregations at 9° & 11°N East Pacific Rise.  Cahiers de Biologie Marine 47:477-482


(1) Govenar B, Le Bris N, Gollner S, Glanville J, Aphergis A, Hourdez S, Fisher CR (2005): Epifaunal community structure associated with Riftia pachyptila aggregations in chemically different hydrothermal vent habitats.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 305:67-77

Linked news

Thursday 23 September 2021
New, innovative equipment for national marine research
Under the leadership of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), a large consortium of national marine research and education institutes has been focusing, over the past few years, on the now necessary replacement of the national…
Tuesday 06 April 2021
Assessing the Impacts of Nodule Mining on the Deep-Sea Environment
Scientists of the JPI Oceans project “MiningImpact” are embarking on a 6-week expedition to the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone (CCZ) in the Pacific. Their goal is to carry out independent scientific monitoring of the test of a pre-prototype nodule…
Sunday 04 April 2021
NIOZ research on deep sea ecosystems and human impacts
The ecosystems of the deep sea are unique and very vulnerable. At the NIOZ, we have been investigating these ecosystems and man-made impacts on the functioning of these ecosystems for decades.
Wednesday 17 October 2018
Mogelijk nieuwe kreeftachtige ontdekt | New copepod found on Texel by student
[English below Dutch] Een minuscuul kleine kreeftachtige (copepod) met inwendige eitjes in plaats van de gebruikelijke uitwendige eitjes, die werd gevonden tussen de Texelse mosselen, zou tot een nog onbekende soort kunnen behoren. De vondst werd…
Wednesday 01 February 2017
Mijnbouw in de diepzee: schadelijk maar onvermijdelijk
De voorbereidingen voor diepzeemijnbouw zijn in volle gang. Op de bodem van onze oceanen liggen schaarse mineralen die we goed kunnen gebruiken voor onze computer en telefoon, maar ook voor duurzame toepassingen als zonnepanelen en windmolens. De…

Linked blogs

Monday 28 June 2021
NIOZ@SEA | IceAGE_KR Kolbeinsey Ridge expedition to hydrothermal vents near Iceland
The marine environment around Iceland with its submarine ridges provides an area perfectly suited for investigating evolution, ecological resilience, and the impact of climate change. The hydrothermal vent fields along the ridges are biologically and…
Friday 09 April 2021
NIOZ podcast Van delta tot Diepzee aflevering 10 De diepzee als mijn
Prof. Dr. Gert-Jan Reichart beklimt het torentje van het NIOZ om te praten over diepzeemijnbouw en CO2. Op het moment dat we dit gesprek opnemen is, meer dan 10.000 kilometer van Texel verwijderd, de NIOZ geoloog Henko de Stigter op het Noorse…
Wednesday 03 July 2019
NIOZ@Sea | Communities at hydrothermal vent Rainbow
Hydrothermal vents are biologically and geochemically extraordinarily active environments in the deep sea that hold answers to our understanding of life under extreme conditions, early life evolution, and global element cycles. In this blog NIOZ…
Thursday 13 June 2019
NIOZ@SEA | Joining the MiningImpact2 expedition of RV Sonne
The arrival of the German research vessel Sonne in the port of Vancouver, Canada, on Monday 27 May, marked the end of a 3-months scientific expedition to the Clarion-Clipperton Zone in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. Four NIOZ scientists…

NIOZ publications

  • 2021
    Diaz-Recio Lorenzo, C.; ter Bruggen, D.; Luther, G.W.; Gartman, A.; Gollner, S. (2021). Copepod assemblages along a hydrothermal stress gradient at diffuse flow habitats within the ABE vent site (Eastern Lau Spreading Center, Southwest Pacific). Deep-Sea Res., Part 1, Oceanogr. Res. Pap. 173: 103532.
    Ingels, Jeroen; Vanreusel, Ann; Pape, Ellen; Pasotti, Francesca; Macheriotou, Lara; Arbizu, Pedro Martínez; Sørensen, Martin Vinther; Edgcomb, Virginia P.; Sharma, Jyotsna; Sánchez, Nuria; Homoky, William B.; Woulds, Clare; Leduc, Daniel; Gooday, Andrew J.; Pawlowski, Jan; Dolan, John R.; Schratzberger, Michaela; Gollner, Sabine; Schoenle, Alexandra; Arndt, Hartmut; Zeppilli, Daniela (2021). Ecological variables for deep-ocean monitoring must include microbiota and meiofauna for effective conservation. Nature Ecology & Evolution 5(1): 27-29.
    Smith, C.R.; Tunnicliffe, V.; Colaço, A.; Drazen, J.C.; Gollner, S.; Levin, L.A.; Mestre, N.C.; Metaxas, A.; Molodtsova, T.N.; Morato, T.; Sweetman, A.K.; Washburn, T.W.; Amon, D.J. (2021). Environmental protection requires accurate application of scientific evidence. Trends Ecol. Evol. 36(1): 14-15.
  • 2020
    Gollner, S.; Govenar, B.; Martinez Arbizu, P.; Mullineaux, L.S.; Mills, S.; Le Bris, N.; Weinbauer, M.; Shank, T.M.; Bright, M. (2020). Animal community dynamics at senescent and active vents at the 9°N East Pacific Rise after a volcanic eruption. Front. Mar. Sci. 6: 832.
    Smith, C.R.; Tunnicliffe, V.; Colaço, A.; Drazen, J.C.; Gollner, S.; Levin, L.A.; Mestre, N.C.; Metaxas, A.; Molodtsova, T.N.; Morato, T.; Sweetman, A.K.; Washburn, T.W.; Amon, D.J. (2020). Deep-Sea misconceptions cause underestimation of seabed-mining impacts. Trends Ecol. Evol. 35(10): 853-857.
  • 2019
    Chapman, Abbie S. A.; Beaulieu, Stace E.; Colaço, Ana; Gebruk, Andrey V.; Hilario, Ana; Kihara, Terue C.; Ramirez‐Llodra, Eva; Sarrazin, Jozée; Tunnicliffe, Verena; Amon, Diva J.; Baker, Maria C.; Boschen‐Rose, Rachel E.; Chen, Chong; Cooper, Isabelle J.; Copley, Jonathan T.; Corbari, Laure; Cordes, Erik E.; Cuvelier, Daphne; Duperron, Sébastien; Du Preez, Cherisse; Gollner, Sabine; Horton, Tammy; Hourdez, Stéphane; Krylova, Elena M.; Linse, Katrin; LokaBharathi, P. A.; Marsh, Leigh; Matabos, Marjolaine; Mills, Susan Wier; Mullineaux, Lauren S.; Rapp, Hans Tore; Reid, William D. K.; Rybakova (Goroslavskaya), Elena; A. Thomas, Tresa Remya; Southgate, Samuel James; Stöhr, Sabine; Turner, Phillip J.; Watanabe, Hiromi Kayama; Yasuhara, Moriaki; Bates, Amanda E. (2019). sFDvent: A global trait database for deep‐sea hydrothermal‐vent fauna. Glob. Ecol. Biogeogr. 28(11): 1538-1551.
  • 2018
    Cuvelier, D.; Gollner, S.; Jones, D.O.B.; Kaiser, S.; Arbizu, P.M.; Menzel, L.; Mestre, N.C.; Morato, T.; Pham, C.K.; Pradillon, F.; Purser, A.; Raschka, U.; Sarrazin, J.; Simon-Lledó, E.; Stewart, I.M.; Stuckas, H.; Sweetman, A.K.; Colaço, A. (2018). Potential mitigation and restoration actions in ecosystems impacted by seabed mining. Front. Mar. Sci. 5: 467.
    Mullineaux, L.S.; Metaxas, A.; Beaulieu, S.E.; Bright, M.; Gollner, S.; Grupe, B.M.; Herrera, S.; Kellner, J.B.; Levin, L.A.; Mitarai, S.; Neubert, M.G.; Thurnherr, A.M.; Tunnicliffe, V.; Watanabe, H.K.; Won, Y.-J. (2018). Exploring the ecology of deep-sea hydrothermal vents in a metacommunity framework. Front. Mar. Sci. 5: 49.
  • 2017
    Gollner, S.; Kaiser, S.; Menzel, L.; Jones, D.O.B.; Brown, A.; Mestre, N.C.; Van Oevelen, D.; Menot, L.; Colaço, A.; Canals, M.; Cuvelier, D.; Durden, J.M.; Gebruk, A.; Egho, G.A.; Haeckel, M.; Marcon, Y.; Mevenkamp, L.; Morato, T.; Pham, C.K.; Purser, A.; Sanchez-Vidal, A.; Vanreusel, A.; Vink, A.; Martinez Arbizu, P. (2017). Resilience of benthic deep-sea fauna to mining activities. Mar. Environ. Res. 129: 76-101.
  • 2016
    Gollner, S.; Stuckas, H.; Kihara, T.C.; Kihara, S.; Kodami, S.; Martinez Arbizu, P. (2016). Mitochondrial DNA Analyses Indicate High Diversity, Expansive Population Growth andHigh Genetic Connectivity of Vent Copepods (Dirivultidae) across Different Oceans. PLoS One 11(10): e0163776.
  • 2015
    Gollner, S.; Govenar, B.; Fisher, C.R.; Bright, M. (2015). Size matters at deep-sea hydrothermal vents: different diversity and habitat fidelity patterns of meio- and macrofauna. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 520: 57-66.
    Gollner, S.; Govenar, B.; Martinez Arbizu, P.; Mills, S.; Le Bris, N.; Weinbauer, M.; Shank, T.M.; Bright, M. (2015). Differences in recovery between deep-sea hydrothermal vent and vent-proximate communities after a volcanic eruption. Deep-Sea Res., Part 1, Oceanogr. Res. Pap. 106: 167–182.
    Plum, C.; Gollner, S.; Martinez Arbizu, P.; Bright, M. (2015). Diversity and composition of the copepod communities associated with megafauna around a cold seep in the Gulf of Mexico with remarks on species biogeography. Mar. Biodiv. 45(3): 419-432.
  • 2014
    Paterson, G.L.J.; Menot, L.; Colaço, A.; Glover, A.G.; Gollner, S.; Kaiser, S.; Gebruk, A.V.; Janssen, A.; Silva, M.C.A.; Janssen, F.; Sahling, H; Felden, J.; Martinez, P.A. (2014). Biogeography and connectivity in deep-sea habitats with mineral resource potential : a gap analysis. Deliverable 4.2. MIDAS. [S.n.]: [s.l.]. 46 pp.

Linked projects

UUNIOZ_Hydrothermal vent fields
Sabine Gollner
Utrecht University
Project duration
1 Jan 2021 - 31 Dec 2025