• Hunting for microbes since 2003

  • We seek to understand

    the role of microorganisms in Earth's nutrient cycles

    and as symbionts of other organisms

  • Cycling of carbon, nitrogen and sulfur

    affect the health of our planet

  • The human microbiome -

    Our own social network of microbial friends

  • Ancient invaders -

    Bacterial symbionts of amoebae

    and the evolution of the intracellular lifestyle

  • Marine symbioses:

    Listening in on conversations

    between animals and the microbes they can't live without

  • Single cell techniques offer new insights

    into the ecology of microbes

  • Apply for the DOME International PhD/PostDoc program

Dome News

  • Dr. rer. nat. Claus Pelikan

    28.05.19
    People

    Claus successfully defended his PhD thesis entitled "Ecophysiology and genomics of sulfate-reducers and other necromass-degrading microorganisms in arctic marine sediments". The board of examiners included William Orsi (Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany), ...

  • New FWF Project for Fatima Pereira

    20.05.19
    News

    Fatima has been awarded a Young Investigator Researcher Group project from the FWF, entitled “Adjusting the base: (Epi)transcriptomic RNA modification in inflammation & host-microbiome crosstalk”. The project will address relevant ...

  • New FWF project for Astrid Collingro

    20.05.19
    News

    Astrid received funding for her project "Towards functional ecology of environmental chlamydiae" from the Austrian Science Fund. Congratulations!

  • Sung-Keun Rhee

    Prof. Sung-Keun Rhee visiting professor at DOME

    15.05.19
    People

    Sung-Keun Rhee, professor at the Department of Microbiology of the Chungbuk National University, South Korea will spend the next 6 months at our division as a visiting professor. We are very much ...

Latest publications

Indications for enzymatic denitrification to N2O at low pH in an ammonia-oxidizing archaeon

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a key climate change gas and nitrifying microbes living in terrestrial ecosystems contribute significantly to its formation. Many soils are acidic and global change will cause acidification of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, but the effect of decreasing pH on N2O formation by nitrifiers is poorly understood. Here, we used isotope-ratio mass spectrometry to investigate the effect of acidification on production of N2O by pure cultures of two ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA; Nitrosocosmicus oleophilus and Nitrosotenuis chungbukensis) and an ammonia-oxidizing bacterium (AOB; Nitrosomonas europaea). For all three strains acidification led to increased emission of N2O. However, changes of 15N site preference (SP) values within the N2O molecule (as indicators of pathways for N2O formation), caused by decreasing pH were highly different between the tested AOA and AOB. While acidification decreased the SP value in the AOB strain, SP values increased to a maximum value of 29‰ in N. oleophilus. In addition, 15N-nitrite tracer experiments showed that acidification boosted nitrite transformation into N2O in all strains, but the incorporation rate was different for each ammonia oxidizer. Unexpectedly, for N. oleophilus more than 50 % of the N2O produced at pH 5.5 had both nitrogen atoms from nitrite and we demonstrated that under these conditions expression of a putative cytochrome P450 NO reductase is strongly upregulated. Collectively, our results indicate that N. oleophilus might be able to enzymatically denitrify nitrite to N2O at low pH.  

Jung M-Y, Gwak J-H, Rohe L, Giesemann A, Kim J-G, Well R, Madsen EL, Herbold CW, Wagner M, Rhee S-K
2019 - ISME J, in press

Mitigating anticipated effects of systematic errors supports sister-group relationship between Xenacoelomorpha and Ambulacraria

Xenoturbella and the acoelomorph worms (Xenacoelomorpha) are simple marine animals with controversial affinities. They have been placed as the sister group of all other bilaterian animals (Nephrozoa hypothesis), implying their simplicity is an ancient characteristic; alternatively, they have been linked to the complex Ambulacraria (echinoderms and hemichordates) in a clade called the Xenambulacraria, suggesting their simplicity evolved by reduction from a complex ancestor. The difficulty resolving this problem implies the phylogenetic signal supporting the correct solution is weak and affected by inadequate modeling, creating a misleading non-phylogenetic signal. The idea that the Nephrozoa hypothesis might be an artifact is prompted by the faster molecular evolutionary rate observed within the Acoelomorpha. Unequal rates of evolution are known to result in the systematic artifact of long branch attraction, which would be predicted to result in an attraction between long-branch acoelomorphs and the outgroup, pulling them toward the root. Other biases inadequately accommodated by the models used can also have strong effects, exacerbated in the context of short internal branches and long terminal branches. We have assembled a large and informative dataset to address this problem. Analyses designed to reduce or to emphasize misleading signals show the Nephrozoa hypothesis is supported under conditions expected to exacerbate errors, and the Xenambulacraria hypothesis is preferred in conditions designed to reduce errors. Our reanalyses of two other recently published datasets produce the same result. We conclude that the Xenacoelomorpha are simplified relatives of the Ambulacraria.

Philippe H, Poustka AJ, Chiodin M, Hoff KJ, Dessimoz C, Tomiczek B, Schiffer PH, Müller S, Domman D, Horn M, Kuhl H, Timmermann B, Satoh N, Hikosaka-Katayama T, Nakano H, Rowe ML, Elphick MR, Thomas-Chollier M, Hankeln T, Mertes F, Wallberg A, Rast JP, Copley RR, Martinez P, Telford MJ
2019 - Curr. Biol., in press

Global diversity and biogeography of bacterial communities in wastewater treatment plants.

Microorganisms in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are essential for water purification to protect public and environmental health. However, the diversity of microorganisms and the factors that control it are poorly understood. Using a systematic global-sampling effort, we analysed the 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequences from ~1,200 activated sludge samples taken from 269 WWTPs in 23 countries on 6 continents. Our analyses revealed that the global activated sludge bacterial communities contain ~1 billion bacterial phylotypes with a Poisson lognormal diversity distribution. Despite this high diversity, activated sludge has a small, global core bacterial community (n = 28 operational taxonomic units) that is strongly linked to activated sludge performance. Meta-analyses with global datasets associate the activated sludge microbiomes most closely to freshwater populations. In contrast to macroorganism diversity, activated sludge bacterial communities show no latitudinal gradient. Furthermore, their spatial turnover is scale-dependent and appears to be largely driven by stochastic processes (dispersal and drift), although deterministic factors (temperature and organic input) are also important. Our findings enhance our mechanistic understanding of the global diversity and biogeography of activated sludge bacterial communities within a theoretical ecology framework and have important implications for microbial ecology and wastewater treatment processes.

Wu L, Ning D, Zhang B, Li Y, Zhang P, Shan X, Zhang Q, Brown M, Li Z, Van Nostrand JD, Ling F, Xiao N, Zhang Y, Vierheilig J, Wells GF, Yang Y, Deng Y, Tu Q, Wang A, Zhang T, He Z, Keller J, Nielsen PH, Alvarez PJJ, Criddle CS, Wagner M, Tiedje JM, He Q, Curtis TP, Stahl DA, Alvarez-Cohen L, Rittmann BE, Wen X, Zhou J
2019 - Nat Microbiol, in press

Lecture series

Viral Intrahost Evolution – a Race in Space and Time

Andreas Bergthaler
CeMM, Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences
06.06.2019
12:00 h
Lecture Hall 2, UZA 1, Althanstr. 14, 1090 Wien

Deciphering population-specific activities of marine microbes with quantitative stable isotope probing

William Orsi
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany
27.05.2019
12:00 h
Lecture Hall HS4, UZA2, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Wien

Three amazing ideas about microbial biogeography that will blow your mind

Daniel H. Buckley
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
16.05.2019
12:00 h
Lecture Hall HS2, UZA 1, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna