Prof. Dr. Thomas Friedl


Born February 14, 1960 in Munich, Germany.

German. Married, three children.

Professor for "Experimental Phycology" (C3)
Scientific Director of the Culture Collection
of Algae Göttingen (SAG)
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, since 1999

Working areas and fundings

1. Systematics, molecular phylogeny, biodiversity and biogeography of terrestrial algae

2. Algae in complex microbial networks

3. Potentials of algal biodiversity as sustainable resources

Ten most important peer-reviewed publications

1. Brinkmann, N., Hodač, L., Mohr, K. I., Hodačová, A., Jahn, R., Ramm, J., Hallmann, C., Arp, G. & Friedl, T. 2015. Cyanobacteria and diatoms in biofilms of two karstic streams in Germany and changes of their communities along calcite saturation gradients. Geomicrobiology Journal, 32:255-274. []

2. Friedl, T. 1995. Inferring taxonomic positions and testing genus level assignments in coccoid green lichen algae: A phylogenetic analysis of 18S ribosomal RNA sequences from Dictyochloropsis reticulata and from members of the genus Myrmecia (Chlorophyta, Trebouxiophyceae cl. nov.). Journal of Phycology, 31:632-639. []

3. Friedl, T. & Rybalka, N. 2012. Systematics of the Green Algae: a brief introduction to the current status. In: Lüttge, U., Beyschlag, W., Büdel, B. & Francis, D. (eds.) Progress in Botany 73. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. 73:259-280. []

4. Friedl, T., Besendahl, A., Pfeiffer, P. & Bhattacharya, D. 2000. The distribution of group i introns in lichen algae suggests that lichenization facilitates intron lateral transfer. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 14:342-352. []

5. Hallmann, C., Hoppert, M., Mudimu, O. & Friedl, T. 2016. Biodiversity of green algae covering artificial hard substrate surfaces in a suburban environment: a case study using molecular approaches. Journal of Phycology, 52:732-744. []

6. Mikhailyuk, T. I., Sluiman, H. J., Massalski, A., Mudimu, O., Demchenko, E. M., Kondratyuk, S. Y. & Friedl, T. 2008. New streptophyte green algae from terrestrial habitats and an assessment of the genus Interfilum (Klebsormidiophyceae, Streptophyta). Journal of Phycology, 44:1586-1603. []

7. Müller, J., Friedl, T., Hepperle, D., Lorenz, M. & Day, J. G. 2005. Distinction between multiple isolates of Chlorella vulgaris (Chlorophyta, Trebouxiophyceae) and testing for conspecificity using Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism and ITS rDNA sequences. Journal of Phycology, 41:1236-1247. []

8. Rybalka, N., Andersen, R. A., Kostikov, I., Mohr, K. I., Massalski, A., Olech, M. & Friedl, T. 2009. Testing for endemism, genotypic diversity and species concepts in Antarctic terrestrial microalgae of the Tribonemataceae (Stramenopiles, Xanthophyceae). Environmental Microbiology, 11:554-565. []

9. Rybalka, N., Wolf, M., Andersen, R. A. & Friedl, T. 2013. Congruence of chloroplast- and nuclear-encoded DNA sequence variations used to assess species boundaries in the soil microalga Heterococcus (Stramenopiles, Xanthophyceae). BMC Evolutionary Biology, 13:39. []

10. Siegesmund, M. A., Johansen, J. R., Karsten, U. & Friedl, T. 2008. Coleofasciculus gen. nov (Cyanobacteria): Morphological and molecular criteria for revision of the genus Microcoleus Gomont. Journal of Phycology, 44:1572-1585. []

Funded Projects as PI (last 10 years)

1. DFG project: Diversity and functional traits of microbial communities in the terrestrial subsurface habitat along a climatic gradient: from surface into the weathering front at depth. DeepEarthShape Project 14 (phase II) in cooperation with D. Wagner, GFZ Potsdam, within project EarthShape Earth Surface Shaping by Biota, DFG-SPP 1803; Projekt FR 905/23-1, project number 409277596, GEPRIS abstract; (2019 - 2021).

2. DFG project: From single pioneers to complex communities: Simultaneous discrimination of composition and inferring species interactions of fossil as well as modern pro- and eukaryotic microbial communities German Science Foundation (DFG), within project Antarctic Research with Comparable Investigations in Arctic Sea Ice Areas, DFG-SPP 1158, project FR 905/22-1; project number 366085171, GEPRIS abstract; (2018 - 2020).

3. DFG project: Correlation between composition of microbial biofilms and weathering of exposed rock surfaces (biodeterioration) along a climatic and temporal gradient in Chile. Project 3 (phase I) in cooperation with J. Reitner, Geobiologie Göttingen, within project EarthShape Earth Surface Shaping by Biota, DFG-SPP 1803; project FR 905/21-1, project number 280662823 GEPRIS abstract ; (2016 - 2018)

4. DFG project: Diversity of microalgae and cyanobacteria communities in Antarctic soils: changes along soil developmental stages and abiotic variables and testing for endemism/geographical distribution. German Science Foundation (DFG), within project Antarctic Research with Comparable Investigations in Arctic Sea Ice Areas DFG-SPP 1158, Projekt FR 905/20-1; project number 258740995; GEPRIS abstract; (2015 - 2017).

5. EU project: PUFACHAIN - The Value Chain from Microalgae to PUFA (7th Framework Programme, FP7-KBBE-2013-7, GA-Nr. 613303; coordination: Universität Göttingen. Article in CORDIS Results Pack magazine; (2014 - 2018).

6. Cooperation grant with Leibniz Society: Cryostress – adaptation of the cell to lowest temperatures (KAIT); Leibniz Institute German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures, Braunschweig, Germany; (2013 – 2016).

7. Research Grants MWK Niedersachsen: Production of algal biomass from industrial CO2-rich flue gasses for biofuel and valuable compounds. Collaboration with Technion, Haifa, Israel: Prof. Robert Armon. (MWK VW ZN2727). Article in the science magazine of the Volkswagen Foundation; (2011 - 2013).

8. Cooperation Grant: with with National Science Foundation, John Carrol University, University Hts. (OH), Cleveland, USA, Dr. Jeffrey Johansen: DNA analyses to assess the biodiversity of terrestrial cyanobacteria of the hyperarid Atacama Desert, Chile (UG-NSF-0816972); (2011 - 2012).

9. Acceleration of Biodiversity Assessment (ABA): Changes in the diversities of terrestrial microalgae and cyanobacteria (including lichen symbionts) along an altitudinal gradient in a tropical mountain forest). With A. Beck, LMU München. Project FR 905/17-1; project number 168757335 GEPRIS abstract; (2010 - 2012).


Lectures: Systematics of Algae, Evolution of Eukaryotes, Endosymbiosis, Algal Biotechnology and DNA Methods, Sexuality in plants.

Courses: Molecular Systematics, Biodiversity and Systematics of Algae, Cell- and Molecularbiology, Ecology of Algae and freshwaters, Plantphysiology und ecological practises; one semester courses „Explorative teaching and Learning“ (FoLL, together with Dept. University Didactics).

Excursions: several-days long to German alpine upland (Lichens and Algae), several-days long Marine Botany course to Helgoland Island.

Theses supervision: 28 Diploma-, 18 Bachelor-, 6 Mastertheses; 6 PhD theses.

Heisenberg fellow of DFG TU Kaiserlautern, Germany, 1997 - 1999

Heisenberg fellow of DFG and funds for research projects, 2 PhD positions and travel grants (2); TU Kaiserlautern, Germany. University department Biology, Dept. Plantecology and Systematics, Professor Burkhard Büdel

Feodor Lynen Stipend of Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (accepted in favor of Heisenberg Stipend).

PostDoc-Period University of Bayreuth, Germany, 1990 - 1997

1997: Habilitation at University Bayreuth. Title of Habilitation Thesis: "Systematics and Phylogeny of terrestrial Grünalgen with special focus on lichen algae: analyses of molecular and morphological features".

1996 - 1997: Habilitation stipend of DFG.

1990 - 1995: Scientific Assistent with Professor Uwe Jensen, Dept. Plantecology and Systematics, University of Bayreuth.

Teaching in Plant Systematics

Courses and Excursions: Adavanced Botanical Course I, Identifiaction of Plants for teachers, various half-day and several day excursions.

Theses supervision: 5 Diploma theses, one PhD thesis.

Fundings: DFG projects (3 projects) including one PhD position, 5 travel.

1991 research stay in the USA: with support by DFG, at Professors Rytas Vilgalys, Durham (NC), and Russel Chapman, Baton Rouge (LA).

Promotion and education 1979 - 1989

1989 Promotion by Prof. Uwe Jensen, Bayreuth University, Germany: title of thesis: "Biology and Systematics of Trebouxia (Microthamniales, Chlorophyta) as a photobiont of Parmeliaceae (lichenized ascomycetes)", supervised by Professor Uwe Jensen (morphological-ultrastructural work) (magna cum laude).

1986 - 1989: scientific employee at Dept. Plantecology and Systematics of University of Bayreuth, PhD student within a DFG research project.

1979 - 1985: Studies of Biology (Diploma) at Munich (LMU, until 1982) and Marburg/L. (since 1982); Diploma Degree, Title of thesis „Photobionts in the lichen genus Diploschistes Norman" (light microscopy analysis of isolated and cultured lichen green algae, supervised by Professor Aino Henssen).


since 1979: honorary co-worker of Senckenberg Scientific Society Frankfurt/M, Germany.


Elected member of Ortsrat (steering committee of the village) Schlarpe (Uslar): chairman of branch „eCarsharing“ of the registered association „Gemeinschaftliches Schlarpe e.V.“ (conjointly active village of Schlarpe), 1st prize EU project LEADER, „Our village drives electrically“ (supporting funds for electric carsharing and solar panels on roof of village central building; 2018).