Center for Plant Molecular Biology

Microbial Interactions in Plant Ecosystems

We are an interdisciplinary group that bridges between microbiology, plant sciences and ecology. Therefore, we are part of the Center for Plant Molecular Biology (ZMBP) as well as the Interfaculty Institute of Microbiology and Infection Medicine Tübingen (IMIT). Our main focus is to understand fundamental mechanisms that shape microbial communities from a stochastic input to a well-defined often host associated microbial community. Our main expertise’s are in microbiology, molecular biology and bioinformatics.

Research Interest:


The plant phyllosphere (Fig. 1A) faces a broad range of harsh abiotic fluctuations such as strong radiation by sunlight, severe dryness alternating with raindrops hitting the leaves, wind and temperature fluctuations. Nevertheless, numerous microbes colonize this challenging habitat (Fig. 1B and C) either to benefit the plant in case of symbionts, to harm the plant in case of pathogens or just as neutral residents, randomly spread by wind, water, insects or any other vector.

Numerous studies on plant-, animal- or insect-associated microorganisms have revealed a critical affect on host physiology and performance suggesting that evolution and ecology of plants, animals and insects, or any other organism, can only be understood in the context of its natural interactions with associate organisms, in particular microbes (Kemen et al. 2015). Host-associated microbial community structures are strongly affected by abiotic factors causing stochasticity, host factors, however, have drawn more and more attentions due to their stability over a range of conditions and their potential to influence the microbiome in a way that might reduce or prevent pathogen attack and manifestation (Kemen 2014, Kroll 2017).

Universität Tübingen
Microbial Interactions
Auf der Morgenstelle 32
D-72076 Tübingen/Germany
Room 4 Q 22

Prof. Dr. Eric Kemen
Tel.: ++49-7071/29-78725

Administration office

Angela Gürtel

Oxana Bill

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