My major interest is organisms; plants, animals as well as microorganisms, and how they affect the function of ecosystems. In my opinion biology without considering the multitude of organisms makes no sense. Traditionally, many ecologists have been focused on either organisms (population-ecology, community-ecology) or on system-functioning (system-ecology), and it is a huge challenge to bridge this gap. Despite that it appears simple; a thorough understanding of the relationship between ecosystem diversity and function remains one of the major unsolved questions in biology.
For very obvious reasons soil is an essential component in terrestrial ecosystems, and here, diversity is a special challenge because one single teaspoon of soil will normally contain more than 10,000 different species most of which are unknown to science. We try to face this challenge in different ways.
- We manipulate diversity in laboratory ecosystems; in this manner we examine how different diversities affect ecosystem function.
- We use next generation sequencing to describe the molecular identity of whole communities.
- Occasionally, we describe new species when we meet forms new to science.
Currently I devote my interest to four major research subjects:
- Plant-microbiome interactions in modern and ancient barley
- Interactions between soil microorganisms and plants
- The effects of recycling bio-ash from power-plants to forests and fields
- Diversity and activity of heterotrophic protozoa in soil
We are very interested in MSc-students for all these subjects.