Microbes are the hidden powers on planet earth. They are by far the most abundant life form, drive biogeochemical cycles and are essential partners in biological interactions with other organisms. Yet our knowledge of microbial diversity and function is only limited.
The department’s research spans from ecophysiology, genomics, and evolution of key microorganisms in selected ecosystems to interactions of microbes among each other and with eukaryotes. This is achieved by cultivation-independent state-of-the-art molecular tools including for example microarray technology and environmental genomics.
We seek to analyze the biodiversity, to reveal the evolutionary history, and to understand the ecological function of microbes catalyzing the global sulfur- and nitrogen cycles. These organisms are not only indispensable in nature, they are also of great importance for biotechnological applications.
We study the evolution of intracellular symbiotic associations and their mechanisms of interaction by focussing on amoebae and their bacterial endosymbionts. As model system we investigate the chlamydiae, which are among the most successful bacterial pathogens of humans and thrive as symbionts in diverse hosts such as protozoa, insects, and crustaceans.
Department für Mikrobielle Ökologie
Forschung & Lehre