The diversity of bacteria and other microorganisms in nature is enormous. Due to the usage of molecular tools, we now know that these communities change over time and space, but we don’t know why and if it matters for their role in ecosystems. In other words we lack basic knowledge about microbial ecology, and we don’t know if it is fundamentally different compared to ecology of other organisms. This is what I want to find out!
Keywords: limnology lake bacteria diversity
Previous achievements include a PhD degree in Limnology at Uppsala University in 1999, and a Docent title from the same university in 2004. I have held two postdoc positions, one in 1999-2000 at the Department of Limnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and one in 2004 at Université du Québec à Montréal.
During my time at Uppsala University I have been teaching corresponding to 10-50% of a full time position including course development and responsibility for 9 different undergraduate and Masters courses. I have done more than 300 hours of lectures in such courses.
I am a member of the Uppsala University "Mentorskollegium" mentoring young teachers in undergraduate teaching. In my own undergraduate teaching I do lectures, lab introductions, field excursions, project supervision, seminars, computing exercises and web teaching, and I am happy to mentor within all of these methods and techniques, but also in others. In both English and in Swedish. I believe that teaching can be improved when teachers discuss and observe each other and as a mentor I hope to help young teachers to develop their teaching skills and also that I will learn something myself from the interaction.
Two questions are central for my research:
1) Which factors are shaping microbial diversity?
2) Does the function of the microbial community in the ecosystem depend on the diversity or community composition?
My research is within the field of metacommunities, i.e. to what extent communities and ecosystems are influenced by other communities in the surroundings (i.e. the metacommunity). I am also interested in the importance of microbial diversity for the functioning of ecosystems, with special focus on the carbon cycle.
The following questions are addressed in current and recent projects:
1) How important is dispersal of bacterial cells for bacterial community composition and functioning? Can massive dispersal of cells (mass effects) over shadow environmental steering factors for community composition? Is the sequence of dispersal of importance due to so called priority and monopolization effects? What about stochastic processes such as drift? Does the importance of these factors differ over season, among lakes of different types and among organism groups? What are the consequences of dispersal and community assembly for the functioning of microbial communities?
2) Are blooms by the nuisance algae G.semen promoted by increased concentrations of iron? What are the ecosystem consequences of G.semen blooms?
In general, questions about biogeography and biodiversity-ecosystem function relationships have been little addressed in microbial communities due to methodological constraints. Today we use novel DNA-sequencing techniques. This development has opened up the door for a new set of questions since diversity can be analysed to a great precision and depth. Finally we can address the over-all question of if microorganism biogeography and biodiversity follow similar rules as that of larger organisms or if they are fundamentally different. Only future will tell if this information will make us rewrite ecology textbooks!
Further, this research aims to increase our understanding of the role of microorganisms in ecosystems, where they play central roles in for instance carbon cycling. Thus, my research deals with the small players with global impact.
Recent and current projects have been made possible by financial support from for instance Vetenskapsrådet, The Wenner-Gren foundation, Carl Tryggers Stiftelse för Vetenskaplig forskning, Stiftelsen Oscar och Lili Lamms minne, Biodiversa, the Åforsk foundation and Stiftelsen Olle Engkvist Byggmästare.
See also my google scholar profile.
Theresa Lumpi (community assembly)
Karla Münzner (causes and consequences of algal blooms)
Josefin Nilsson (Nutrient retention in wetlands, main supervisor Antonia Liess Högskolan i Halmstad)
Berenike Bick (community assembly, main supervisor Silke Langenheder)
Sofia Papadopoulou (ecosystem consequences of dispersal)
Ingrid Sassenhagen (parasites of phytoplankton blooms)
Previous group members (selection):
Jürg Brendan Logue (PhD student, biogeography)
David Lymer (PhD student, viral ecology)
Martin Andersson (PhD student, bacterial diversity-ecosystem relationships)
Xinmei Feng (postdoc, biogeography)
Jérôme Comte (postdoc, biogeography)
Ina Severin (postdoc, diversity and function from a biogeography perspective)
Johanna Sjöstedt (postdoc Microbial diversity and ecosystem functioning)
Sophia Renes (Ph D student, Resilience of microbial communities, SLU)
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