Microbial Ecology, Species interactions, Biodiversity ecosystem functioning relationships
I am a trained ecologist and (post-) doctoral fellow in microbial ecology. My research interests are centered around the role of microbial diversity for the functioning of important ecosystem processes. I am currently working on microbial networks/food webs involved in methane consumption from sediments of Lake Washington.
I developed an approach to establish synthetic and semi-natural model microbial communities in the laboratory. Synthetic and semi-natural model communities overcome the difficulties of determining mechanisms in natural communities by reducing the complexity to a minimum and allowing for full controllability. I have further unlimited access to a collection of over 50 bacterial isolates from Lake Washington sediment that are known to be involved in one-carbon utilization in this ecosystem and each of these isolates has a genome sequence available. This provides an invaluable resource and database for synthetic microbial community studies. These co-occurring communities, which grow on methane as sole carbon source, are not random and have been previously observed from various environments using stable isotope probing techniques. Hence, these model communities allow to study fundamental principles in a controlled setup that can be translated into the role of community structure on ecosystem processes in natural microbial communities. Although these communities clearly differ from complex communities from natural environments, this does not diminish the value and potential of such studies to disentangle key mechanisms of microbial community interactions and ecosystem functions.
If you are interested to get to know more about my research please send me an email. I am always happy to talk about opportunities and new ideas.