Moritz Köster

PhD Student


Environmental conditions like e.g. climate and geology and the resulting abiotic processes set the limits for biotic functioning. Within these boundary conditions biota have the ability to actively shape environmental properties for instance by nutrient procurement, nutrient redistribution (e.g. uplift by plants) and deposition of organic compounds. Especially plants and their symbiotic microbes and mycorrhiza are known to enhance rock weathering rates compared to non-vegetated areas with the same geological boundary conditions.

In this project we investigate the role of biota in the dissolution of soil minerals; we focus on the weathering of Phosphorous (P) and Iron (Fe) containing minerals. Especially low-molecular-weight organic acids (LMWOA) exuded by plants, microbes or fungi are known to play a key role in the acquisition of nutrients. A toolset of different techniques is used in order to gain a comprehensive picture of the involved processes and rates.

The content of LMWOA in the soil is quantified by a GC/MS method. Furthermore, XANES technology is applied to determine the weathering status of soil minerals, in particular the speciation of Phosphorous and Iron. 13C pulse labeling in the field and subsequent analysis of phospholipidic fatty acids (PLFA) and LMWOA are used as a tool to link the contribution of different microbial groups to carbon utilization and the origin of LMWOA.

The project is an affiliated project to the DFG priority program EarthShape (SPP 1803).

Educational background

2015 to datePhD studies with the topic "Impact of root exudates on mineral weathering and speciation"
2013 to 2015M.Sc. in Ecological Impact Assessment at the University of Koblenz, Germany
2006 to 2010B. Eng. in Applied Physics at the Trier University of Applied Sciences (Umwelt-Campus Birkenfeld)


Svenja C. Stock, Moritz Köster, Michaela A. Dippold, Francisco Nájera, Francisco Matus, Carolina Merino, Jens Boy, Sandra Spielvogel, Anna Gorbushina, Yakov Kuzyakov: Environmental drivers and stoichiometric constraints on enzyme activities in soils from rhizosphere to continental scale (2019). Geoderma, Vol. 337, pp.973-982

Francisco Matus, Svenja Stock, Wolfram Eschenbach, Jens Dyckmans, Carolina Merino, Francisco Nájera, Moritz Köster, Yakov Kuzyakov, Michaela A. Dippold: Ferrous Wheel Hypothesis: Abiotic nitrate incorporation into dissolved organic matter (2018). Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, accepted manuscript

Ralf A. Oeser, Nicole Stroncik, Lisa-Marie Moskwa, Nadine Bernhard, Mirjam Schaller, Rafaella Canessa, Liesbeth van den Brink, Moritz Köster, Emanuel Brucker, Svenja Stock, Juan Pablo Fuentes, Roberto Godoy, Francisco Javier Matus, Rómulo Oses Pedraza, Pablo Osses McIntyre, Leandro Paulino, Oscar Seguel, Maaike Y. Bader, Jens Boy, Michaela A. Dippold, Todd A. Ehlers, Peter Kühn, Yakov Kuzyakov, Peter Leinweber, Thomas Scholten, Sandra Spielvogel, Marie Spohn, Kirstin Übernickel, Katja Tielbörger, Dirk Wagner, Friedhelm von Blanckenburg: Chemistry and microbiology of the Critical Zone along a steep climate and vegetation gradient in the Chilean Coastal Cordillera (2018):Catena, Vol. 170, pp. 183-203

Nadine Bernhard, Lisa-Marie Moskwa, Karsten Schmidt, Ralf A. Oeser, Felipe Aburto, Maaike Y. Bader, Karen Baumann, Friedhelm von Blanckenburg, Jens Boy, Liesbeth van den Brink, Emanuel Brucker, Burkhard Büdel, Rafaella Canessa, Michaela A. Dippold, Todd A. Ehlers, Juan P. Fuentes, Roberto Godoy, Patrick Jung, Ulf Karsten, Moritz Köster, Yakov Kuzyakov, Peter Leinweber, Harald Neidhardt, Francisco Matus, Carsten W. Mueller, Yvonne Oelmann, Rómulo Oses, Pablo Osses, Leandro Paulino, Elena Samolov, Mirjam Schaller, Manuel Schmid, Sandra Spielvogel, Marie Spohn, Svenja Stock, Nicole Stroncik, Katja Tielbörger, Kirstin Übernickel, Thomas Scholten, Oscar Seguel, Dirk Wagner, Peter Kühn: Pedogenic and microbial interrelations to regional climate and local topography: New insights from a climate gradient (arid to humid) along the Coastal Cordillera of Chile (2018): Catena, Vol. 170,pp. 335-355