For about 3.8 billion years the earth has been influenced by life and its interaction with non-living matter, if not even its present appearance has thus been formed.
Geomicrobiology can be regarded as closely related to microbial ecology, environmental microbiology, applied microbiology, and even astrobiology, but each of these fields has a slightly different emphasis.
Present science investigates a number of photo-autotroph, litho-autotroph, chemolithe, and chemo-organotroph bacteria with respect to their potential to change minerals, dissolve, accumulate or form them. In our group we investigate fossil residues of microbes as well as living bacteria of e.g. the marine and continental deep biosphere, carbonate buildups at methane seeps or symbionts of marine sponges.
We analyze microbial life communities via DNA-probes (so-called gene probes) which enable us to specifically recognize single bacterial cells from most possibly undisturbed specimens in natural locations via fluorescence marking and microscopic evaluation methods. Moreover, diversity, structure, and function of natural microbial life communities of different habitats are investigated via further molecular-biologic methods, such as denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) or comparative sequence analysis, but also via classical microbiologic and physiologic methods.


Prof. Dr. Joachim Reitner
PD Dr. Gernot Arp