Dr. Gerrit Wienhausen

Dr. Gerrit Wienhausen

Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment  (» Postal address)

W15 1-136 (» Adress and map )

+49 441 798-3269  (F&P

Dr. Gerrit Wienhausen

research associate

Research Interests

Microorganisms populate even the most unreal and tiniest corners of our planet. They also inhabit the world' s oceans in large numbers, for example, 1 million bacterial cells and several thousand phytoplankton Zellen can be found per mililitre in the upper layers of the water column that receives sunlight. These tiny single-celled organisms can form complex networks in a tiny micro environment, exchanging vital metabolites with each other and even with multicellular organs. Despite their inconspicuousness to the human eye, mircobes thrive essential global geochemical cycles that keep the biosphere of our planet intact. In this still largely unknown world of microbes, my work focuses on B vitamins. These micronutrients are of crucial importance in every living organism, as they catalyse enzymatic reactions as coenzymes in important metabolic processes. The fact that many microbes cannot synthesize individual B-vitamins de novo and are dependent on other organisms makes it possible to better decipher the complex exchange of crucial metabolites in microbial communities. My current interest is in the B vitamins biotin (vitamin B7) and cobalamin (vitamin B12) and their metabolic precursors (vitamers). Here I am interested in the synthesis and exchange at the cellular level, up to the effects that these molecules have on the community level. My long-term goal is to link these discoveries to ocean processes that are vulnerable to climate change.


B-vitamin cycle in the marine environment

 - B-vitamin and vitamer (builing blocks, precursor or degradation products of B-vitamins) concentrations in the ocean

 -  Investigating the effect of B-vitamins (and vitamers) on natural marine microbial communities

Crossfeeding of B-vitamins (and vitamers) among microbes

 - Study of dependencies and exchange processes in defined microbial consortia

 - Investigation of the uptake and release of B-vitamins at the cellular level



Wienhausen G, Bruns S, Sultana S, Dlugosch L, Groon L-A, Wilkes H, et al. The overlooked role of a biotin precursor for marine bacteria - desthiobiotin as an escape route for biotin auxotrophy. ISME J 2022; 1–11.

Wienhausen G, Dlugosch L, Jarling R, Wilkes H, Giebel H-A, Simon M. Availability of vitamin B12 and its lower ligand intermediate α-ribazole impact prokaryotic and protist communities in oceanic systems. ISME J 2022; 1–13.

Wienhausen G, Bittner MJ, Paerl RW. Key Knowledge Gaps to Fill at the Cell-To-Ecosystem Level in Marine B-Vitamin Cycling. Front Mar Sci 2022; 9.

Giebel H-A, Arnosti C, Badewien TH, Bakenhus I, Balmonte JP, Billerbeck S, Henkel R, Kuerzel B, Meyerjürgens J, Milke F, Voss D, Wienhausen G, Wietz M, Winkler H, Wolterink M and Simon M. Microbial Growth and Organic Matter Cycling in the Pacific Ocean Along a Latitudinal Transect Between Subarctic and Subantarctic Waters. Front Mar Sci 2021; 8: 1888.

Noriega-Ortega BE, Wienhausen G, Mentges A, Dittmar T, Simon M, Niggemann J. Does the Chemodiversity of Bacterial Exometabolomes Sustain the Chemodiversity of Marine Dissolved Organic Matter? Front Microbiol 2019; 10.

Wienhausen G, Noriega-Ortega BE, Niggemann J, Dittmar T, Simon M. The Exometabolome of Two Model Strains of the Roseobacter Group: A Marketplace of Microbial Metabolites. Front Microbiol 2017; 8.

(Changed: 31 Aug 2022)