FWF - Lichens - Stability and change in the lichen microbiome

Project: Research project

Description

Lichens represent long-living miniature ecosystems with specific bacterial communities. We extend our previous reserach on lichen-assosiated bacteria to study the effects of ecological variation on composition and function of lichen microbiomes. Lichens experience variation in humidity, temperature and irradiation in their habitat. This approach will also reveal the composition of core and transient fractions of bacterial commnunities in two models: Lobaria pulmonaria and Peltigera praetextata. In experimental approaches, we will expose lichens to artificial habitat disturbances, such as excessive rain or shade.These experiments will also test under which circumstances changes of microbial communities are progressive.Two characterise composition of the microbiomes of individual lichens we use deep and metagenome sequencing and FISH-CLSM (fluorescence in situ hybridization and confocal laser scanning microscopy). These data will be complemented by functional characterization of the entire lichen symbiosis using an environmental proteomics approach. As a pioneering approach we also study the commnunity mobilome to assess potential horizontal genetic transfer and evolutionary processes in the lichen microbiome. This ist the first investigation of stability and change in the microbiome associated with lichens. Because lichen symbioses can be seen as miniature version of ecosystems, the results could provide new insights in the effect of environmental change on microbial services in larger ecosystems.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date1/04/1231/08/15