Blog posts by Andrea Torti

Rumo(h)rs from the seafloor

I have come to realize that my posts so far have been very deep: deep biosphere, deep sediments, deeply buried microorganisms... The vastly unexplored deep subsurface indeed represents one of the current frontiers of science and is a major focus of the IODP ... Read more

More than just freezing: How to preserve samples from the deep biosphere

I guess you all know what happens if you throw a chunk of fresh meat into the lions’ cage: a few moments later nothing is left but the bones. Now, if a bunch of microbiologists manages to get their hands on a deep sediment core, you’ll witness a similar ... Read more

Scientific drilling on a floating garden

Greetings from Lillebælt! After leaving Kiel port a few days ago, it just took a few hours before we arrived at our first coring station, halfway between the Danish islands of Als and Lyø. We already started drilling the first hole, out of the three planned for this ... Read more

On the quest for fossil DNA

Finally! After years of preparation, the Expedition 347 of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) is about to begin its voyage across the Baltic Sea. The science party has gathered this week in Copenhagen from all around the world: Europe, North America, ... Read more

Andrea Torti

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On September 7th, 2013, the IODP Expedition 347 “Baltic Sea paleoenvironment” will start the offshore operations and, for the first time ever, drill hundreds of meters deep into the Baltic seafloor for purely scientific purposes.

For two months, an international team of 17 geologists and microbiologists will cruise the Baltic Sea aboard the drillship Manisha to retrieve deep sediment samples of enormous scientific value. I have the honor to be part of that team.

Thanks to my privileged insider’s eye, I will be blogging about our research and activities onboard, the inner workings of such a big scientific extravaganza, and top it all with my personal impressions and feelings about what I expect to be a truly unique experience.

About me

Microbiologist and PhD student at the Center for Geomicrobiology, Aarhus University.

I was born and raised in the Italian countryside, where all the time spent on roaming around in vineyards and watching nature documentaries on TV made me believe that I was meant to become an ecologist… but I ended up with a master’s degree in Industrial Biotechnology instead, from the University of Pavia (Italy).

Right at the time when I had to decide what to do in my postgraduate studies, my early enthusiasm for nature resurfaced and made me decide to move to Denmark and get finally involved in ecology. Now I am a PhD student at the Center for Geomicrobiology (Aarhus University) and spend my time investigating what is in the dark and cold mud lying beneath the ocean.

My research is often taking me out at sea, where I always have a lot of fun making holes in the seabed to get fresh material for my experiments. When I analyze my mud samples, I’m on the lookout for molecules that are released by dead organisms – especially fossil DNA molecules – which contain a whole lot of information about what kind of creatures used to live in the sediment itself, the overlying seawater and the lands nearby.

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