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• New study published: Gerbracht, Harding et al. 2022

In this new publication we analyse enzymes and binding proteins of the protoplast feeder Orciraptor agilis, which are expressed during the perforation of algal cell walls:


• Review about the vampyrellid amoebae published

Hess & Suthaus 2022: The Vampyrellid Amoebae (Vampyrellida, Rhizaria). Protist



• New DFG-funded project: Molecular secrets of a new sunscreen strategy found in terrestrial green algae

Our new project "Exploring cellular changes during the production of an extracellular sunscreen pigment found in terrestrial green algae (Zygnematophyceae, Streptophyta)" was granted by the German Research Foundation. During the next three years, we will apply transcriptomic and analytical tools to better understand the exceptional sunscreen strategy of the green alga Serritaenia. See Research for details.


• New study published: More, Simpson & Hess 2021

In this international collaborative work we describe the new vampyrellid amoeba Sericomyxa perlucida , which can vary its feeding strategy depending on the prey type:


• Excellent research talks by Jannika Moye and Andreas Suthaus

The prizes for the two best research talks at the meeting of the International Society of Protistologists (online) were awarded to Jannika Moye and Andreas Suthaus (PhD students). Both of them performed extremely well in presenting the followig studies:
J. Moye, T. Schenk & S. Hess: Transcriptome-informed cell biology reveals the role of carbohydrate-active enzymes and unexpected biopolymers in microbial protoplast feeders.
A. Suthaus, J. Teixeira Pereira Bassiaridis & S. Hess: Expanding knowledge on the biodiversity, ecological adaptations and distribution of vampire amoebae (Vampyrellida, Rhizaria).


• New study published: Muñoz-Gómez, Kreutz & Hess 2021

Our newest study with Dr. Sergio Muñoz-Gómez (former postdoc of the HessLab) and Dr. Martin Kreutz (amateur microscopist) reveals some secrets of a very unusual tripartite symbiosis.


• New study published: Busch & Hess 2021

Anna Busch (PhD student) published her research on an extracellular sunscreen pigment found in the new algal genus Serritaenia.


• Jannika Moye (PhD student) awarded for scientific talk

The prize for the best research talk at the annual meeting of the German Society of Protozoologists (virtual via zoom) was awarded to Jannika Moye (PhD student). In her talk "Revealing the role of carbohydrate-active enzymes in microbial protoplast feeders by transcriptome-informed cell biology", Jannika presented our newest results about the activity and localisation of endocellulases in the algivorous flagellate Orciraptor agilis.


New DFG-funded project: Diversity of vampyrellid amoebae

In January 2021 we started our new research project "Exploring the hidden diversity of widespread predatory amoebae of the order Vampyrellida (Rhizaria)", which is part of the Taxon-omics priority programme of the German Research Foundation. Over the next three years we will explore the vampyrellid amoebae of diverse ecosystems with classical techniques (cultivation, microscopy) and high-throughput sequencing techniques (environmental sequencing). See Research for details.


• Film crew from National Geographic visiting

For more than one year we collaborate with nature film-makers to document the secret life of unicellular microbes in unprecedented quality. The results of this exciting collaboration of university research and film industry will be released by National Geographic, presumably in 2022.


• Anna Busch (PhD student) awarded for best presentation by German phycologists

The phycological section of the German Society for Plant Sciences ("Sektion Phykologie") awarded Anna Busch for an outstanding presentation about her Master's thesis. Anna presented her results about "A UV-inducible sunscreen pigment found in the extracellular mucilage of aerophytic green algae (Zygnematophyceae)".


• Excellent research talks by Justin Teixeira Pereira Bassiaridis and Anna Busch

The prizes for the two best research talks at the annual meeting of the German Society of Protozoologists in Kaiserslautern were awarded to Justin Teixeira Pereira Bassiaridis (Bachelor student) and Anna Busch (PhD student). Justin presented the results of his Bachelor's thesis about the feeding strategies of vampyrellid amoebae, while Anna talked about a UV-inducible sunscreen pigment in conjugating green algae.


• Anna Busch (PhD student) awarded for excellent scientific poster by the German Society for Plant Sciences

At the International Plant Science Conference 2019 (15.-19.9.2019) in Rostock, Anna's contribution was among the ten best scientific posters. Anna Busch presented her research about a so far unknown sunscreen pigment in the mucilage of terrestrial green algae.


• Behind the paper: Hess et al. 2019

• "ScienceNews for Students" presents:

• BBC Earth reports about vampire amoebae