The Emmy Noether Research Group of Jun.-Prof. Dr. Sara Kleindienst works in the field of Microbial Ecology. Further research topics include Environmental Microbiology, Environmental Omics, and Biogeochemistry.
A main research focus is microbially mediated pollutant turnover in the environment. Research projects in this area address microbial hydrocarbon degradation at contrasting sites in the ocean (e.g. Gulf of Mexico, Arctic Ocean, North Sea), examine the impacts of chemical dispersants on the activity of microorganisms in the marine environment, and investigate microbial nitrate and atrazine turnover in various ecosystems (e.g. groundwater aquifer, soils, river) of the Ammer River catchment area in Germany. We further explore interrelationships of microbial activities (e.g. microbial Fe(II) oxidation) and biogeochemical cycles and identify environmental factors (e.g. temperature, nutrients, electron donors and acceptors) that influence microbial activities.
We are using a combination of field-based research and controlled laboratory experiments and employ cutting-edge techniques (e.g. stable-isotope probing, metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, metaproteomics, nanometer-scale secondary ion mass spectrometry; nanoSIMS) to identify and to isolate microbial key-players within diverse microbial communities, to explore microbial population dynamics, to unravel metabolic pathways, and to shed light on the fate of pollutants in the environment.
Our work is funded by the German Research Foundation, the Baden-Württemberg Foundation, the Robert Bosch Foundation, and the Institutional Strategy of the University of Tübingen (German Research Foundation, ZUK63).