• 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

  • Ancient invaders -

    Bacterial symbionts of amoebae

    and the evolution of the intracellular lifestyle

  • The human microbiome -

    Our own social network of microbial friends

  • Single cell techniques offer new insights

    into the ecology of microbes

  • Apply for the DOME International PhD/PostDoc program

  • Marine animal symbioses:

    Listening in on conversations

    between hosts and the microbes they can't live without

Dome News

Latest publications

Biophysical and Population Genetic Models Predict the Presence of “Phantom” Stepping Stones Connecting Mid-Atlantic Ridge Vent Ecosystems

Deep-sea hydrothermal vents are patchily distributed ecosystems inhabited by specialized animal populations that are textbook meta-populations. Many vent-associated species have free-swimming, dispersive larvae that can establish connections between remote populations. However, connectivity patterns among hydrothermal vents are still poorly understood because the deep sea is undersampled, the molecular tools used to date are of limited resolution, and larval dispersal is difficult to measure directly. A better knowledge of connectivity is urgently needed to develop sound environmental management plans for deep-sea mining. Here, we investigated larval dispersal and contemporary connectivity of ecologically important vent mussels (Bathymodiolus spp.) from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge by using high-resolution ocean modeling and population genetic methods. Even when assuming a long pelagic larval duration, our physical model of larval drift suggested that arrival at localities more than 150 km from the source site is unlikely and that dispersal between populations requires intermediate habitats (“phantom” stepping stones). Dispersal patterns showed strong spatiotemporal variability, making predictions of population connectivity challenging. The assumption that mussel populations are only connected via additional stepping stones was supported by contemporary migration rates based on neutral genetic markers. Analyses of population structure confirmed the presence of two southern and two hybridizing northern mussel lineages that exhibited a substantial, though incomplete, genetic differentiation. Our study provides insights into how vent animals can disperse between widely separated vent habitats and shows that recolonization of perturbed vent sites will be subject to chance events, unless connectivity is explicitly considered in the selection of conservation areas.

Breusing C, Biastoch A, Drews A, Metaxas A, Jollivet D, Vrijenhoek RC, Bayer T, Melzner F, Sayavedra L, Petersen JM, Dubilier N, Schilhabel MB, Rosenstiel P, Reusch TBH
2016 - Current Biology, 26: 1 - 11

Genus Candidatus Nitrosotenuis

Candidatus Nitrosotenuis is a genus of Thaumarchaeota that can be found widely distributed in soils, freshwater, hot springs, the subsurface, and activated sludge. They may be rods or spheres and may or may not have flagella. Like other known and described Thaumarchaeota, Ca. Nitrosotenuis are aerobic chemolithautotrophs that use energy gained from the oxidation of ammonia to nitrite to fix carbon via modified 3-hydroxypropionate/4-hydroxybutyrate carbon fixation pathway. At this time, no pure culture of Ca. Nitrosotenuis exists, but some of the six available enrichments with members of the genus are almost pure. It remains to be  demonstrated whether the remaining bacterial contaminants provide essential compounds to Ca. Nitrosotenuis. Enrichments of Ca. Nitrosotenuis are intolerant to high salinity (>0.3%), although they are phylogenetically related to the Group I.1a Thaumarchaeota (Nitrosopumilaceae), which includes taxa that are widely distributed in the ocean.

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Herbold CW, Lebedeva E, Palatinszky M, Wagner M
2016 - In press. in Bergey’s Manual of Systematics of Archaea and Bacteria. (William B. Whitman). John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, England

A new perspective on microbes formerly known as nitrite-oxidizing bacteria

Nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB) catalyze the second step of nitrification, nitrite oxidation to nitrate, which is an important process of the biogeochemical nitrogen cycle. NOB were traditionally perceived as physiologically restricted organisms and were less intensively studied than other nitrogen-cycling microorganisms. This picture is contrasted by new discoveries of an unexpected high diversity of mostly uncultured NOB and a great physiological versatility, which includes complex microbe-microbe interactions and lifestyles outside the nitrogen cycle. Most surprisingly, close relatives to NOB perform complete nitrification (ammonia oxidation to nitrate) and this finding will have far-reaching implications for nitrification research. We review recent work that has changed our perspective on NOB and provides a new basis for future studies on these enigmatic organisms.

Daims H, Lücker S, Wagner M
2016 - Trends Microbiol., in press

Lecture series

Importance of chemosymbiotic lucinid bivalves in seagrass community functioning

Matthijs van der Geest
Université de Montpellier
20.01.2016
11:00 h
Seminar room DoME (2.309), UZA 1

The contribution of phage-mediated gene transfer to microbial genome evolution

Tal Dagan
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
23.10.2015
13:30 h
Seminar room DoME (2.309)

Cool microbes: Assessing the role of acidobacteria communities in carbon and nitrogen cycling processes in arctic tundra soils

Max Häggblom
Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology School of Environmental and Biological Sciences Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
11.09.2015
11:00 h
Seminar Room DOME (2.309)