The section Geomicrobiology investigates geomicrobiological processes both on the Earth’s surface including the critical zone and in the ’deep biosphere‘, which supposedly plays a fundamental role within the global biogeochemical cycles over short and long time scales. Our research focuses on the development and distribution of microbial life in terrestrial environments particularly in extreme habitats such as permafrost, deserts, lake sediments and the deep subsurface in continental areas. We analyse the dynamics and processes of microbial communities and the related complex geologic-biological interactions.
We established the novel Helmholtz Laboratory for Integrated Geological and Biological Research (GeoBioLab) as an interdisciplinary platform for joint activities of scientists from various disciplines including microbiology/molecular biology, (bio)geochemistry, bioinformatics, and geomorphology to address our scientific questions in a wide range of environments and disciplines. In addition to basic research, we also work on translating suitable results into applications. These include, for example, the development of equipment for sediment sampling and sample preparation or the utilization of the genetic resources represented by our unique type culture collection of extremophilic microorganisms for industrial or biotechnological applications.
The Section Geomicrobiology focuses on four main topics:
8th December 2020, 15:00, online seminar
“Carbon sources sustaining (ultra)mafic rock hosted ecosystems: a combined geomicrobiological and genomic perspective”
Prof. Bénédicte Ménez, Université de Paris, IPGP, Paris, France
On November 12th, 2019, an internal Chilean-German workshop will be held at the GFZ Potsdam. The aim of the workshop is to establish a close cooperation between the University of Atacama in Copiapó/Chile and the German Research Centre for Geosciences in the framework of the planned “High Altitude Observatory” in Chilean Andes.
The cover story of the current issue of the research magazine “Helmholtz Perspektiven” deals with life in extreme environments. The article describes life that withstands even the most extreme conditions on Earth. Among other things, the Deep Biosphere Research of the GFZ Section Geomicrobiology is presented in the article. The corresponding multimedia story can be found at: www.helmholtz.de/extremophile
Life in Extreme Environments (editor- in-chief D. Wagner)
Volume 8 on the subject "Advanced Techniques for Studying Microorganisms in Extreme Environments" (Ètienne Yergeau, ed.) was published by De Gruyter Verlag, Berlin/Boston, in October 2019
MSc. Ebuka Canisius Nwosu received an award for the best poster at the Annual Conference 2019 of the Association for General and Applied Microbiology (VAAM), 17 - 20 March 2019, Mainz, Germany
MSc. André Friese received the “ISSM best student oral presentation” award at The international Society for Subsurface Microbiology (ISSM) Conference 2017 (6-10 November 2017) in Rotorua, Newzealand. Title of the talk: „A simple and inexpensive technique for assessing contamination during drilling operations.“, 09.11.2017
The Section Geomicrobiology will conduct an expedition to the Atacama Desert in Chile from 14-30 March 2018 together with partners from the Technical University Berlin (TUB) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The aim of this campaign is to explore the limits of life in extremely dry conditions and the impact of microorganisms on the development of the desert habitat.
Book series: Life in Extreme Environments (editor D. Wagner)
Volume 2 of the series on the subject „Microbial Evolution Under Extreme Conditions“ (C. Bakermans, ed.) was published by De Gruyter Verlag, Berlin in March 2015