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Current research

High above our heads in the canopies, there is life that is poorly known, life on a microscopic scale - the life of eukaryotic microorganisms (protists). Protists are extremely diverse and can be found in almost every habitat. However, knowledge about their evolution and biodiversity is still limited.

In a joint DFG funded research project of the Universities of Cologne and Leipzig (SPP 1991, Taxon-omics: New approaches to discovering and naming biodiversity), we aim to investigate the diversity and community composition of protists in tree canopies. Canopies are ideal model systems to study microbial communities as they provide a variety of diverse microhabitats that resemble, from a microbial perspective, island-like isolated biogeographic entities. For a comprehensive assessment of protist diversity, I use high throughput sequencing methods. Analyzing these complex environmental data promotes my interest and knowledge in data science and ecological statistics.