Laboratory of Microbiology

The Laboratory of Microbiology, led by professors Willems, Vandamme and De Vos, mainly focusses on diversity, ecology, phylogeny, classification and taxonomy of bacteria. Key research marine activities include polar microbiology, endosymbiotic bacteria, bacteria in the carbon and nitrogen cycles, and bacteria in marine benthic foodwebs. The latter is a collaboration with the Marine Biology research group, and focusses on marine coastal sediment food webs. They study how functional biodiversity at the level of the habitat-engineering macrobenthos cascades into levels of biodiversity at the microbial level, which is directly responsible for, for instance, denitrification. They also study functional properties of marine sediments and their inhabitants and combine field studies with micro- and mesocosm experiments.