Fachbereich 5

Biologie


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Department of Ecology

Research of the Department of Ecology focusses on cooperative interactions between different organisms. Our main goal is to identify the molecular and ecological factors that favor the evolution of these interactions as well as to determine the physiological and evolutionary consequences that result for the participating individuals and populations.

We use microbial communities as experimentally tractable model systems to address fundamental ecological and evolutionary questions. Our research work focusses on interactions, in which essential metabolites or biochemical functions are exchanged between two or more microorganisms.

Christian Kost, Prof. Dr. rer. nat.

Christian Kost, Prof. Dr. rer. nat.

Tel.: +49 541 969-2853
Raum: 67/114-115

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Current research themes:

•    Evolution and maintenance of obligate cross-feeding interactions
•    Consequences of synergistic coevolution
•    Indiviuality/multicelluarity of bacteria


Our research combines laboratory-based experiments on ecological and evolutionary time scales with the analysis of natural microbial communities. We use modern methods of microbiology, synthetic biology, systems biology, high-resolution microscopy as well as chemical analytics to study ecological interactions between different microorganisms on a molecular-, single cell- , population-, and community level. In parallel, we use mathematical modeling and computer simulations to understand complex processes as well as to generate predictions, which will then be experimentally verified.

A second research focus of our group is on vegetation ecology, restoration ecology, as well as nature conservation. Here, we combine classical field work with laboratory experiments and analyses.

Current research themes:

•    Efficiency of restoration measures
•    Nutrient fluxes and origins of microplastics in aquatic ecosystems
•    Biomass production of aquatic macrophytes in stream ecosystems