Prof. Dr. Dirk Wagner

Dirk Wagner
Prof. Dr. Dirk Wagner
Building C, Room 425
14473 Potsdam
+49 331 288-28800
+49 331 288-28802

Function and Responsibilities:

Head of GFZ Section 3.7 "Geomicrobiology"
Professor of Geomicrobiology and Geobiology, University Potsdam
Scientific Advisor GeoGraduates (Graduate training at GFZ)

Research Interests:

  • Geomicrobiology in terrestrial ecosystems
  • Terrestrial carbon cycle
  • Geo-bio interactions
  • Deep Biosphere
  • Reaction and adaptation of microorganisms to changing environmental conditions
  • Isolation and characterisation of extremophilic microorganisms
  • Astrobiology


Since 2012
Head of the Section 3.7 Geomicrobiology, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences
and Professor of Geomicrobiology and Geobiology, Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University Potsdam

2009 - 2012
Privatdozent (Equivalent of Associate Professor), Institute of Biochemistry and Biology, University Potsdam

2002 - 2012
Leader of the working group Geomicrobiology in Periglacial Regions, Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar andMarine Research, Potsdam

1998 - 2001
Postdoc, BMBF project Russian German Cooperation System Laptev Sea 2000, University Hamburg und Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar andMarine Research, Potsdam

PhD student, BMBF project Trace Element Cycles, University Hamburg


Habilitation in Microbial Ecology, Institute of Biochemistry and Biology, University Potsdam

1994 - 1998
PhD in Soil Microbiology, Institute of Soil Science, University Hamburg

1987 - 1993
Study of Biology (Diploma), University Hamburg
Main subjects: Microbiology, Soil Science, Genetics/Molecular Biology


  • GeoArchives: Coastal lagoons and continental lake sediments - Holocene climate-ecosystem archives (BMBF)
  • Microbial symbionts of Arctic peatlands and their relevance for present and future carbon and nitrogen cycling (HGF- Helmholtz International Research Group)
  • Methanosarcina soligelidi under simulated Mars conditions in space: Survival rates and
    biosignatures (BMWi/ESA)
  • Microbiological stabilization of the Earth's surface across a climate gradient (DFG SPP 1803)
  • Microbial-mediated soil formation under simulated environmental conditions in maritime Antarctica (DFG SPP 1158)
  • From single pioneers to complex communities: Simultaneous discrimination of composition and inferring species interactions of fossil as well as modern pro and eukaryotic microbial communities (DFG SPP 1158)
  • Microorganisms in Warming Arctic Environments (Marie Curie ITN)
  • Limits of microbial life in the Atacama desert

Research Boards and Committees:

  • Member of the Advisory Board "Environment" at the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the German Society for Polar Research (DGP)
  • Editor-in-Chief of the book series 'Life in Extreme Environments', de Gruyter Publisher, Berlin
  • Editorial Board Member 'FEMS Microbiology Ecology'
  • Editorial Board Member 'Permafrost and Periglacial Processes'


  • Founding Committee Member of the German Astrobiological Society (DAbG)
  • Member of the Steering Committee for ESF Planetary Protection for Mars Special Region Study

Researcher ID: C-3932-2012