The department of Microbial Ecology and Diversity aims to link key ecosystem processes to bacterial functions and evolution. The understanding of relevant drivers and feedbacks of microbial diversity has implications for ecosystem service and management. The cultivation and characterization of underexplored, but key taxonomic groups by innovative cultivation techniques extents our understanding of diversification and may yield novel applications. Further, disentangling the evolutionary mechanisms of diversification will improve the taxonomy and inform collection strategies (e.g., the key strains concept).
Our research has implications for policy and strategic development in particular for the Nagoya Protocol and UN Convention on Biological Diversity, quality management of culture collections, biosecurity and dual research of concern, novel needs and products, as well as management of prime terrestrial and marine habitats (soils, ocean). With its international research projects the department contributes towards the internationalization of the DSMZ.