We carry out a number of projects, most of which are externally funded. Most projects are themed broadly around biodiversity, and the functions and ecology of soil fungi.
For specific information on the ERC Advanced Grant see separate site here.
There are currently a number of projects underway themed around the biodiversity and ecology of fungi in agricultural systems. These are funded by the BMBF initiative BonaRes (the projects are Soil3 and INPLAMINT), and by others.
There are a number of projects in which different lab members engage in re-analysis and synthesis of existing ecological data in order to gain new insights. One commonly used set of techniques are meta-analyses. We also work in the development of concepts, for example community coalescence.
We are interested in applying trait-based approaches to the ecology of fungi, and have engaged in a number of conceptual exercises. We are using a culture collection consisting of 30 isolates to establish a suitable model system with which to test some of these ideas.
The lab is part of the DFG-funded German Biodiversity Exploratories program (speaker: Prof. M. Fischer); in the last phase, having started in 2011, the lab participated with three contributed projects, which deal with diversity of arbusculary mycorrhizal fungi (Hempel and Rillig), soil aggregation (Rillig) and plant-soil feedback (Prof. Jasmin Joshi at University of Potsdam and Rillig). In the current phase (start 2014), the lab contributes one project on Sebacinales (Hempel). The Exploratories are large-scale laboratories in three locations in the north, middle and south of Germany in which replicated plots are located. The goal is to uncover interrelationships among biodiversity, land use and ecosystem processes.