I started studying Biology at the University of Cologne in fall 2006 and finished my bachelor degree (2009) in General Biology. I transferred to the University of Hamburg where I finished my master degree (2011) in Marine Ecosystem and Fisheries science.
I started my PhD at the University of Cologne in the Dept. of “Terrestrial Ecology” in June 2012 with the topic “Functional roles of Cercozoa in the rhizosphere and phyllosphere of plants (CERCOPLANT)”.
The project investigates mechanisms of community assembly of bacteria and protozoa in the rhizosphere and phyllosphere of plants. My research is focusing on the functional roles of Cercozoa, since they are the most abundant flagellated protozoa in soil. Due to their ability to change to an amoeba stage, Cercozoa may exert a profound influence on bacterial biofilms in the plant rhizosphere. Cercozoa are also important colonizers of plant leaves, but the grazing impact of protozoa on phyllosphere bacterial communities is largely unknown. Therefore my project aims to link specific phylogenetic and phenotypic traits of Cercozoa to grazing-induced changes in bacterial communities in the rhizosphere and phyllosphere of plants.