Ecophysiology of Prokaryotes and Impact of Microbial Communities on Ecosystem Function The global diversity of microorganisms is largely unresolved. The importance of microbial communities to elemental cycles in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems makes it important to establish the identity and in situ function of key microorganisms in such habitats.
The teaching and research profiles of the Department of Ecological Microbiology are focused on the ecophysiology of model microorganisms and intermediary metabolism at the ecosystem level. Microbially-mediated redox processes involved in the fluxes of greenhouse gases and metals are of special interest. These processes include denitrification, methanogenesis, methanotrophy, fermentation, and acetogenesis. State-of-the art methods are used for (a) the isolation of hitherto unknown microorganisms and (b) assessing the diversity and in situ functions of microbial communities.