Dr. Anne Daebeler
I am particularly interested in the composition, diversity, and function of nitrifying microbial communities. While my past research focused on ammonia-oxidizing archaea, I have lately started to study nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB). This functional group contains phylogenetically diverse key players of the biogeochemical nitrogen cycle which are present in virtually all oxic habitats on earth.
By catalyzing the second step of nitrification, NOB are the main biological source of nitrate and thus provide a plethora of other organisms with a nitrogen source for growth and an electron acceptor for anaerobic respiration. Even though NOB are recognized for excess nitrogen elimination from sewage in wastewater treatment plants, current knowledge of their microbiology and ecology is severely limited, especially in natural ecosystems. By studying these organisms in their natural habitats such as soils and lakes, in controlled microcosm experiments as well as in culture I focus on their importance for ecosystem functioning, their ecophysiology and metabolic potentials.
I combine lab and field experiments with modeling of gross nitrification processes in order to provide a mechanistic and predictive understanding of NOB responses to environmental changes. Recently, I have also started to analyze the genomes of novel nitrifiers which I enriched from saline lakes and hot springs with focus on understanding the adaptive mechanisms to extreme environmental conditions such as elevated pH and temperature.