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Microbial Ecology and DiversityMikrobielle Ökologie und Diversität

Microbial Ecology and Diversity Research

The Department Microbial Ecology and Diversity Research is a newly founded section of the DSMZ and has been established to further strengthen the basic and applied research activities of the Leibniz-Institute.
Research of the Department focuses on

  1. the evolutionary basis of bacterial diversity - mechanisms of genome evolution, of speciation and niche separation
  2. bacterial adaptations to nutrient and energy limitation and their implications for biogeochemical cycles
  3. the evolution, ecophysiology and molecular basis of bacterial multicellularity and interaction.

A suite of complementary techniques are used in our research projects. Culture-independent molecular approaches comprise 16S rRNA-based techniques such as FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridization) phylogenetic fingerprinting by DGGE (Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis), Multilocus Sequence Analyses (MLSA) of bacterial housekeeping genes, and functional genomic approaches (genome sequencing, high-throughput transcriptomics, proteomics). We developed and employ innovative novel cultivation approaches such as high throughput dilution cultures, chemotaxis enrichments and cocultivation. State-of-the-art physiological techniques include, amongst others, enzyme assays, the quantification of cell constitutents by HPLC, measurements with oxygen and sulfide electrodes, stable isotope techniques (isotopic fractionation, isotope dilution) and incorporation experiments.