Thorsten Dittmar studied geoecology and marine chemistry (Universities of Bayreuth and Bremen, Germany). He is now professor for Marine Geochemistry at the Institute for the Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment (ICBM) at the University of Oldenburg (Germany). Before, he was head of a Research Group at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Marine Microbiology in Bremen and Assistant Professor for Chemical Oceanography at Florida State University (USA). He also worked several years at universities in Belém (Brazil) and Seattle (USA). Dittmar’s research focus is the organic geochemistry of the oceanic water column. He pioneered novel ultrahigh-resolution mass spectrometry techniques for the study of seawater, and discovered an unprecedented molecular diversity in the ocean. He is an elected member of the German Science Foundation’s review panel on the physics, chemistry and biology of the ocean. Dittmar is currently principal investigator and coordinator of a major collaborative research project where 15 PhD students work together on the “ecology of molecules” (EcoMol). He published >120 peer-reviewed articles in leading international research journals, including “Nature” and “Science”. He has also been chief scientist of several oceanographic cruises, and serves on the editorial boards of “Marine Chemistry” (Elsevier), “Scientific Reports” (Nature Publishing Group), and “Scientific Data” (Nature Publishing Group).