Biodiversity of pro- and eukaryotic soil microbial communities
The biodiversity of microbial soil communities will be analyzed with strong emphasis on prokaryotes (archea, bacteria) and eukaryotes (particularly algae and some fungal groups). DNA sequencing methods will be used following PCR and cloning of molecular signatures as well as new generation (pyro-) sequencing methods. Relationships between the genetic diversity of the different microbial groups will be assessed and compare among different soil samples along gradients of various environmental factors. Samples will be analyzed from temperate regions, Antarctica and the tropics. DNA barcoding methods will be used for certain eukaryotic exemplar groups at the taxonomic levels of genera, species and below to compare related organisms of different origins. In addition, also traditional culturing methods will be applied for selected eukaryotic algal groups and cyanobacteria. We will train students in all crucial steps in modern methods for biodiversity assessment, including state-of-the art sequencing methods, bioinformatics for sequence analyses and construction of evolutionary phylogenies and data interpretation.