Antje Boetius’s research focuses on the impacts of climate change on the Earth’s oceans and polar regions, especially in connection with Arctic amplification, as well as changes in the biological pump and marine microbial communities. As a deep-sea researcher, her work also involves finding previously undiscovered habitats in the deep sea, in particular, extreme biotic communities and deep-sea ecosystems below the ice, and on seamounts, mud volcanoes, gas hydrates, and cold and hot springs. Her studies on the ecological impacts of deep-sea mining highlight the long-term consequences of disrupting the ocean floor. Her HGF-MPG Joint Research Group, which brings together representatives of the AWI, MARUM and the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, also focuses on microbial habitats in the oceans. The goal of her research is to analyse and assess the importance of marine microbial biodiversity for a broad range of functions. To do so, she investigates e.g. consortia of methane- and oil-consuming microorganisms, which make a substantial contribution to the stability of the marine environment and the climate. The HGF-MPG Joint Research Group for Deep-Sea Ecology and Technology is also well known for developing new robotic instruments for in-situ studies on marine ecosystems. These include various sensors and camera systems used to monitor physical and chemical indicators of the current state of the oceans.
In addition, Boetius is an expert on science and culture in the Anthropocene and collaborates with artists, authors and publicists to explore questions on societal transformation and its repercussions in the arts and culture, e.g. in the project ‘Theatre of the Anthropocene’ under the auspices of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. As a research manager, she also writes and communicates on questions concerning diversity and equal opportunities in research, sustainability strategies and transformation processes.