• Centre for Microbiology and Environmental Systems Science

  • CUBE - Computational Systems Biology

  • DOME - Microbial Ecology

  • EDGE - Environmental Geosciences

  • TER - Terrestrial Ecosystem Research


Latest publications

High-resolution topochemical analysis and thermochemical simulations of oxides and nitrides at grain boundaries and within the grains of a low alloy Mn-Cr hot-rolled steel sheet

The selective oxidation underneath the scale layer of an industrially hot rolled Fe-1.8Mn-0.8Cr steel at temperatures between 600 and 700 °C has been investigated. The spatial distribution and composition of formed precipitates has been studied by high-resolution topochemical analysis via TEM-EELS and NanoSIMS and revealed heterogeneities in chemical composition, especially along grain boundaries. It could be shown that grain boundary oxides are predominantly composed of aluminium, chromium or silicon oxides/nitrides, surrounded by manganese-rich oxides. Experimental results of phase stability have been compared to numerical simulations, considering the distribution of more than 40 potentially stable oxide-, nitride- and carbide phases, and differences are critically discussed.

Praigad VG, Stöger-Pollach M, Schintlmeister A, Auinger M, Danninger H
2021 - Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 876: in press

Comparable canopy and soil free-living nitrogen fixation rates in a lowland tropical forest

Biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) is a fundamental part of nitrogen cycling in tropical forests, yet little is known about the contribution made by free-living nitrogen fixers inhabiting the often-extensive forest canopy. We used the acetylene reduction assay, calibrated with 15N2, to measure free-living BNF on forest canopy leaves, vascular epiphytes, bryophytes and canopy soil, as well as on the forest floor in leaf litter and soil. We used a combination of calculated and published component densities to upscale free-living BNF rates to the forest level. We found that bryophytes and leaves situated in the canopy in particular displayed high mass-based rates of free-living BNF. Additionally, we calculated that nearly 2 kg of nitrogen enters the forest ecosystem through free-living BNF every year, 40% of which was fixed by the various canopy components. Our results reveal that in the studied tropical lowland forest a large part of the nitrogen input through free-living BNF stems from the canopy, but also that the total nitrogen inputs by free-living BNF are lower than previously thought and comparable to the inputs of reactive nitrogen by atmospheric deposition.

Van Langenhove L, Depaepe T, Verryckt LT, Fuchslueger L, Leroy JDC, Moorthy SMK, Gargallo-Garriga A, Ellwood MDF, Verbeeck H, Van Der Straeten D, Peñuelas J, Janssens IA
2021 - Science of The Total Environment, 754: Article 142202

Empirical support for the biogeochemical niche hypothesis in forest trees

The possibility of using the elemental compositions of species as a tool to identify species/genotype niche remains to be tested at a global scale. We investigated relationships between the foliar elemental compositions (elementomes) of trees at a global scale with phylogeny, climate, N deposition and soil traits. We analysed foliar N, P, K, Ca, Mg and S concentrations in 23,962 trees of 227 species. Shared ancestry explained 60–94% of the total variance in foliar nutrient concentrations and ratios whereas current climate, atmospheric N deposition and soil type together explained 1–7%, consistent with the biogeochemical niche hypothesis which predicts that each species will have a specific need for and use of each bio-element. The remaining variance was explained by the avoidance of nutritional competition with other species and natural variability within species. The biogeochemical niche hypothesis is thus able to quantify species-specific tree niches and their shifts in response to environmental changes.

Sardans J, Vallicrosa H, Zuccarini P, Farré-Armengol G, Fernández-Martínez M, Guille P, Gargallo-Garriga A, Ciais P, Janssens IA, Obersteiner M, Richter A, Peñuelas J
2021 - Nature Ecology & Evolution, 5: 184-194

Lecture series

Microbial metabolites for metal scavenging, defense, and signaling

Prof. Dr. Thomas Böttcher
Department of Biological Chemistry, Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem Science, University of Vienna, Austria
17:00 h