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Microorganisms are all organisms smaller than 50µm and include bacteria, archaea, fungi as well as unicellular small eukaryotes like protists. They constitute the major fraction of the living biomass in soils and form associations with tight functional interactions, also termed microbiomes.

Soils are a hotspot for microbial diversity on earth, and soil microorganisms contribute strongly to the services provided by soils. This includes the promotion of plant growth, driving food, feed and fuel production, the sequestration of carbon-triggering mitigation of climate change effects, the degradation of pollutants resulting maintaining drinking water resources and a general protection function also for higher trophic levels.

In addition to site specific conditions including soil type and local climate, land-use and land use intensity are important drivers of soil microbial diversity. To date, the role and the interactions of environmental factors for soil microbial diversity and functioning are still little understood.


The main objectives of the Microorganisms Core Project are:

  1. To monitor soil microbial communities of archaea, bacteria and fungi in all 300 grassland and forest experimental plots (EPs) of the Biodiversity Exploratories. Based on these diversity data, to unravel network structures, identify keystone species as well as major functional traits of the soil microbiome, and bring them into a spatial temporal context in relation to land use.
  2. Next to coordinated soil sampling campaigns in May 2011, 2014, and 2017, this core project will organize an upcoming sampling of all EPs from all three Expoloratories in May 2021.
  3. Further soil samples from manipulation experiments in grasslands and forests will be taken and studied.
  4. Members of the core project will extract DNA and RNA using highly standardised protocols to perform the necessary diversity analysis and supply the data obtained to the contributing projects. In addition, purified and standardised extracts of nucleic acids will be provided to other projects.
  5. In addition core project 8 develops preservation and biobanking strategies to ensure a sustainable back up of soil samples as well as extracts of nucleic acids for future projects.
  6. Core project 8 engages in multiple synthesis activities of the Biodiversity Exploratories.

Due to the Covid19 pandemic, the central sampling in the 300 EPS had to be postponed from spring 2020 to spring 2021. Only afterwards can the effective collaborations be indicated.


  • In the past phases: BELOW, SADE, SCALEMIC, BEECH Transplant
  • In the current phase: Forest Gap Experiment (FOX), Reduced Land-Use Intensity Experiment (REX), Land-Use Experiment (LUX)

Doc
Goldmann K., Ammerschubert S., Pena R., Polle A., Wu B.-W., Wubet T., Buscot F. (2020): Early stage root-associated fungi show a high temporal turnover, but are independent of beech progeny. Microorganisms 8 (2), 210. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms8020210
More information:  doi.org
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Goldmann K., Boeddinghaus R. S., Klemmer S., Regan K. M., Heintz-Buschart A., Fischer M., Prati D., Piepho H.-P., Berner D., Marhan S., Kandeler E., Buscot F., Wubet T. (2020): Unraveling spatio‐temporal variability of arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi in a temperate grassland plot. Environmental Microbiology 22 (3), 873-888. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.14653
More information:  doi.org
Doc
Auswirkung von pflanzlichen Nachbarschaftseffekten auf die pilzliche Diversität und Gemeinschaftszusammensetzung in der Rhizosphäre
Lohmaier A. (2018): Auswirkung von pflanzlichen Nachbarschaftseffekten auf die pilzliche Diversität und Gemeinschaftszusammensetzung in der Rhizosphäre. Master thesis, University Halle-Wittenberg
Doc
Der Einfluss von Borkenkäfern (Curculionidae, Scolytinae) auf das Mykobiom der Gemeinen Fichte (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst., Pinaceae) im Biodiversitäts-Exploratorium Hainich-Dün
Masch D. (2020): Der Einfluss von Borkenkäfern (Curculionidae, Scolytinae) auf das Mykobiom der Gemeinen Fichte (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst., Pinaceae) im Biodiversitäts-Exploratorium Hainich-Dün. Bachelor thesis, FU Berlin
Doc
Belowground plant microbiome diversity and community composition in grassland ecosystems along land-use gradients in the German Biodiversity Exploratories
Unterirdische Pflanzenmikrobiomvielfalt und Gemeinschaftszusammensetzung in Grünlandökosystemen entlang von Landnutzungsgradienten in den deutschen Biodiversitäts-Exploratorien
Schöps R. (2020): Belowground plant microbiome diversity and community composition in grassland ecosystems along land-use gradients in the German Biodiversity Exploratories, Dissertation, Leipzig University
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Landnutzungsintsität anstatt von funktionellen Pflanzengruppen beeinflussen die bakterielle und pilzliche Rhizosphärengemeinschaft
Schöps R., Goldmann K., Herz K., Lentendu G., Schöning I., Bruelheide H., Wubet T., Buscot F. (2018): Land-use intensity rather than plant functional identity shapes bacterial and fungal rhizosphere communities. Frontiers in Microbiology 9:2711. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.02711
More information:  doi.org
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Vergleichbare Pilzgemeinschaften in der Rhizosphäre von ansässigen Pflanzen und Phytometerpflanzen in bewirtschafteten Grünlandökosystemen
Schöps R., Goldmann K., Korell L., Bruelheide H., Wubet T., Buscot F. (2020): Resident and phytometer plants host comparable rhizosphere fungal communities in managed grassland ecosystems. Scientific Reports 10: 919. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-57760-x
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Weißbecker C., Buscot F., Wubet T. (2017): Preservation of nucleic acids by freeze-drying for next generation sequencing analyses of soil microbial communities. Journal of Plant Ecology 10 (1), 81-90. doi: 10.1093/jpe/rtw042
More information:  doi.org
Doc
Verbreitung von medizinisch relevanten Antibiotikaresistenzgenen und mobilen genetischen Elementen in Wald- und Grünlandböden
Willms I. M., Yuan J., Penone C., Goldmann K., Vogt J., Wubet T., Schöning I., Schrumpf M., Buscot F., Nacke H. (2020): Distribution of Medically Relevant Antibiotic Resistance Genes and Mobile Genetic Elements in Soils of Temperate Forests and Grasslands Varying in Land Use. Genes 11 (2), 150. doi: 10.3390/genes11020150
More information:  doi.org

The so-called core projects of the BE emerged from the site selection project and the establishment of the exploratories (2006-2008). Since 2008, they have been providing the infrastructure and collecting important basic information on land use, diversity and ecosystem processes (long-term monitoring) for all projects. In addition, they coordinate project-wide activities such as various large-scale experiments.

Project in other funding periods

Scientific assistants

Prof. Dr. Francois Buscot
Project manager
Prof. Dr. Francois Buscot
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung GmbH - UFZ
Prof. Dr. Jörg Overmann
Project manager
Prof. Dr. Jörg Overmann
Leibniz-Institut DSMZ - Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen
Prof. Dr. Michael Schloter
Project manager
Prof. Dr. Michael Schloter
Technische Universität München (TUM)
Dr. Stefanie Schulz
Employee
Dr. Stefanie Schulz
Helmholtz Zentrum München
Dr. Kezia Goldmann
Employee
Dr. Kezia Goldmann
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung GmbH - UFZ
Dr. Johannes Sikorski
Employee
Dr. Johannes Sikorski
Leibniz-Institut DSMZ - Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen
Dr. Selma Gomes Vieira
Employee
Dr. Selma Gomes Vieira
Leibniz-Institut DSMZ - Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen
Julia Kurth
Employee
Julia Kurth
Technische Universität München (TUM)
Luis Daniel Prada Salcedo
Employee
Luis Daniel Prada Salcedo
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung GmbH - UFZ
Beatrix Schnabel
Employee
Beatrix Schnabel
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung GmbH - UFZ
Franziska Burkart
Employee
Franziska Burkart
Leibniz-Institut DSMZ - Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen
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