Personalia | Dirk Wagner appointed to subcommittee of the ICSP

Prof. Dirk Wagner (photo: private).

Dirk Wagner , head of GFZ section Geomicrobiology, has been appointed to the subcommittee ‘Taxonomy of the methanogenic archaea’ of the International Committee on Systematics of Prokaryotes ICSP.

The ICSP is an organisation within the International Union of Microbiological Societies IUMS. The task of the subcommittee is to develop standards for the description of new types of methanogenic archaea (methanogenic microorganisms). The international committee consists of eleven experts in the field of taxonomy, i.e. the categorisation or classification of methanogenic archaeae. In the last ten years alone, more than 40 new species of methanogenic archaea have been described and thus classified by the committee within the existing taxonomy.
Methanogenic archaeae are responsible, among other things, for the microbiological formation of methane and the so-called anaerobic oxidation of methane, i.e. the formation of methane in the absence of oxygen. Both processes are of great importance for the release of the climate-relevant greenhouse gas methane from soils and sediments. Methanogenic archaeae are also key organisms of processes in the so-called deep biosphere, i.e. the Earth's crust.

Dirk Wagner holds a professorship in geomicrobiology and geobiology, jointly appointed by GFZ and the University of Potsdam. His research focuses on microbial carbon dynamics in permafrost soils, the role of microorganisms for the development of the Earth's surface, diversity in the deep biosphere, and the microbial processes taking place there. Wagner discovered and for the first time described the organism Methanosarcinasoligelidi in Siberian permafrost, which is now considered a model for possible life on Mars. He has also published a complete overview of the methanogenic archeae Methanosarcina. (ak)

Further information:

  • Website of the ICSP
  • First description of the organism Methanosarcina soligelidi : Wagner, D., Schirmack, J., Ganzert, L., Morozova, D., Mangelsdorf, K., 2013; Methanosarcina soligelidi sp. nov., a desiccation and freeze-thaw resistant methanogenic archaeon from a Siberian permafrost-affected soil. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, 63, 2986-2991.
  • General overview of the group of 'Methanosarcina': Wagner, D., 2020. Methanosarcina. In: Whithman, W. B. Bergey's Manual of Systematics of Archaea and Bacteria.

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