The research work of the protozoology group focuses on the nutrition of protozoa. How do these single-cell animals capture their food, and then ingest and digest it? An important objective is to identify underlying general principles.
Furthermore, we are interested in ecological questions concerning limnetic and marine biotopes. The worldwide distribution of deep sea protists is studied by deep-sea expeditions with the German research vessel METEOR.
Another topic of interest is the ecological significance of certain protozoa, the minute nanoflagellates living in the sediment of aquatic habitats. The symbiosis between protozoa and insects is being studied with the example of termites and flagellates. These two groups of organisms are directly dependent on each other: the termites cannot decompose the cellulose they ingest without the flagellates, which in turn can no longer live outside the termites. Bacteria on the surface of the flagellates and inside their cytoplasm are further symbiotic partners. Furthermore, the infestation of insects with parasitic protists is being investigated. Primarily, light and electron microscopic methods are used for the investigations.
In addition to research publications, the group has also produced standard text books on protozoology, as well as numerous scientific films about protozoology and cell biology.
The working group is involved in several basic teaching activities such as in the general and special practical courses of zoology and in the lecture animal kingdom. Affine modules are offered in the fields of electron microscopy, protozoology and parasitism/symbiosis.