We analyze the diversity and processes within communities and their exchange with the surrounding environment. In our studies we focus on microbially-dominated surface communities occurring on soil, rocks, and epiphytically on the bark and even leaves of trees. These miniature ecosystems are composed of photosynthesizers (i.e., lichens, bryophytes, algae, cyanobacteria) and decomposers (fungi, bacteria, archaea), and also heterotrophic consumers (protozoa, nematodes, tardigrades, and microarthropods) regularly occur in these communities, It is our overall goal to investigate and quantify the functional and biogeochemical interactions within these communities and to understand and quantify their functional roles and relevance under historic, current, and future conditions in the Earth system.
Bettina WeberHead of the research group
Institute of Biology