Protistology & Aquatic Ecology (PAE)
Our research group studies marine and freshwater ecosystems, with an emphasis on coastal systems and polar-alpine and temperate lakes. We have a strong focus on the biodiversity, ecological roles and evolutionary history of unicellular eukaryotes in these systems as well as from other natural or man-made environments. The lab has a long-standing history of research on diatoms, which are the focus of a long-term integrative research line including cell biology of new model diatom species, population genomics and macroecological and biogeographical studies. In an applied context, we focus a.o. on harmful algal bloom monitoring and control, transmission of pathogens via bacteria-protozoa interactions in animal farming, and algal biotechnology.
The lab hosts a ISO9001 certified Diatom Culture Collection
- Population genetics
- Speciation and (cryptic) species diversity
- Niche divergence and evolution
- Competition and facilitation
- Molecular basis of the diatom life cycle
- Species screening and growth optimization for aquaculture
- Reconstruction of past climate and environmental change
The BCCM/DCG public collection is the only culture collection worldwide specialized in diatoms, the most species-rich and ecologically important algal group. All strains are publicly available for the scientific community and are distributed as research or reference material to scientific institutions and companies.