Microbial diversity and role in ecosystem function and stability
Microorganisms perform ecosystem services such as the degradation of organic matter and the production of biomass that may be transferred to higher trophic levels. Understanding how microbial community composition and diversity is are related to the magnitude and stability of ecosystem services is a central question. for several projects. For instance, we investigate how perturbation events and, gradual environmental change, as well as and community assembly mechanisms affects ecosystem functions provided by microbes as well as the coupling between diversity and function. Functional and compositional resilience and resistance is also investigated.
We are also interested in the roles specific phylogenetic groups plays. For instance we apply and develop tracer- and sequence-enabled methods to identify organisms involved in specific biogeochemical processes and also use information obtained to enrich or isolate microorganisms of special interest. Our studies target both broad ecosystem functions (respiration, biopolymer degradation) as well as more specialized traits such as pollutant and kitin degradation. We are also interested in which roles generalist and specialist play in substrate usage, as well as the role of chemoautotrophic bacteria and archaea in polar oceans.