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The 2009 Leibniz Prize: Eleven new scientific discoverers
Date:12/11/2008

bniz Prize in brief:

Prof. Dr. Antje Boetius (41), microbial ecology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Bremen (2.5 million euros)

In her prize-winning research, Antje Boetius studies the minute organisms that live on parts of the sea bed and have a major impact on the global climate. She was the first marine microbiologist to prove the existence of microbial communities consisting of bacteria that reduce sulphate and methanotrophic archaea on the ocean floor. In the absence of oxygen, these microorganisms consume methane, which is present in abundance on the sea bed, thus reducing the amount of this highly potent greenhouse gas that enters the atmosphere to a fraction. Boetius was the first person ever to describe this process, called anaerobic oxidation of methane, or AOM, which was of equally great interest to ecologists, geologists and oceanographers as it was to microbiologists and biochemists. With her research work Boetius has made a decisive contribution to the understanding of one of the most important processes in the global climate cycle.

Antje Boetius does much of her work out on the high seas. Since 1989 she has been on more than 30 expeditions aboard German and foreign research vessels, on which she has taken and analysed samples using numerous innovative methods. After studying biology in Hamburg and obtaining her doctorate in Bremen, she worked at the Baltic Sea Research Institute (IOW) in Warnemnde and at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, before being appointed as an Assistant Professor at the private International Jacobs University Bremen. Since 2003 she has been an Associate Professor and the leader of a research group at the MPI for Marine Microbiology.

Prof. Dr. Holger Braunschweig (47), metal-organic chemistry, Department of Inorganic Chemistry, University of Wrzburg (2.5 million euros)

With his work on the amalgamation of main group and transition meta
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Contact: Marco Finetti
marco.finetti@dfg.de
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Source:Eurekalert

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