DOM and microbial interactions
Marine microbes and organic matter cannot be treated as separate units. To understand the functioning of microbial communities and biogeochemical cycles, one must consider the interactive network of inanimate molecules and living cells. The microbial community and natural organic matter are both characterized by an extremely high level of diversity, in terms of genetic potential, function and molecular composition. A multitude of interactions between the individual players is observable in natural systems, and specific community functions emerge through which the flux of matter and energy in the ocean is controlled. This is the main theme of our collaborative research center (CRC) Roseobacter funded by DFG and our ongoing PhD research training group “Ecology of Molecules” (EcoMol). In EcoMol, 15 PhD students work together to advance a new conceptual framework that extends ecological principles to the non-living molecular environment.