Dr. Evina Gontikaki
Postdoctoral Researcher,
Biochemical Engineering and Environmental Biotechnology Lab



  • 2010: Ph.D in Biological Sciences, School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen, U.K.
  • 2003: M.Sc in Oceanography, School of Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton, U.K.
  • 2002: BSc (Honours) in Biology, Department of Biology, School of Natural Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

Research Interests

My research interests focus on the marine carbon cycle and particularly on the degradation of organic matter by marine microorganisms. I am interested in the biodegradation of crude oil at sea and the effect of hydrostatic pressure on the composition and function of deep water hydrocarbon-degrading microbial communities as well as the improvement of bioremediation strategies to treat oil spills.  An additional field of my research is the degradation of terrestrial plant cell walls in the marine environment and the degradation enzymes produced by marine microorganisms, which find applications in modern biorefineries for the production of chemical compounds and biofuels.

Participation in Research Programmes and Projects

  • Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation, 1st call for Postdoctoral Researchers (2018-2021; €155,000) “Determination of the self-healing capabilities of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea to accidental deep-sea oil releases” (PI), Host institution: School of Environmental Engineering, Technical Univeristy of Crete.
  • MASTS MBF grant (2016-2017; £2000) “Photochemical and microbial degradation of particulate terrigenous organic matter in intertidal sediments” (PI). 
  • NERC Oil & Gas catalyst fund (NE/L00819X/1; 2014-2015; £98,871) “The natural capacity for oil degradation in marine environments: towards developing DNA-based biosensors for monitoring low-level oil pollution” (Co-I).
  • NERC UK Oil & Gas CDT studentship (2014-2018; estimated value £80,000) “Using the intrinsic recovery capabilities of deep-sea and polar ecosystems to reduce the impact of accidental oil release” (Co-I)
  • NERC CASE studentship (2014-2018; £82,680) “Site-specific DNA- and RNA- based biomarkers to monitor low-level oil pollution and test the effectiveness of bioremediation approaches” (Co-I).

Selected Publications

  • Perez-Calderon LJJ*, Gontikaki E*, Potts LD, Shaw S, Gallego A, Anderson JA, Witte U (2018) Pressure and temperature effects on deep‐sea hydrocarbon-degrading microbial communities in subarctic sediments. MicrobiologyOpen 2018;e768 (*equal contribution authors)
  • Perez-Calderon LJ, Potts LD, Gontikaki E, Gubry-Rangin C, Cornulier T, Gallego A, Anderson JA, Witte U (2018) Bacterial community response in deep Faroe-Shetland Channel sediments following hydrocarbon entrainment with and without dispersant application. Frontiers in Marine Science 5: article 159.
  • Gontikaki E, Anderson JA, Witte U (2018) Hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria in deep-water subarctic sediments (Faroe-Shetland Channel). Journal of Applied Microbiology 125, 1040—1053
  • Potts LD, Perez Calderon LJ, Gontikaki E, Keith L, Gubry-Rangin C, Anderson JA, Witte U (2018). Effect of spatial origin and hydrocarbon composition on bacterial consortia community structure and hydrocarbon biodegradation rates. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 94: fiy127.
  • Ferguson R, Gontikaki E, Anderson JA, Witte U (2017). The variable influence of dispersant on degradation of oil hydrocarbons in subarctic deep-sea sediments at low temperatures (0-5oC). Scientific Reports 7:2253; doi:10.1038/s41598-017-02475-9