Expertise Riks Laanbroek, NIOO-KNAW

Department of Microbial Wetland Ecology  (MWE) Centre for Limnology (CL) Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO – KNAW)

The department aims at understanding the role of microbial diversity in geochemical cycles in wetland ecosystems both at the biochemical and the community level. Microbial diversity and functional redundancy in wetland sediments and soils is extremely high. To facilitate the study of the diversity-function relationship in these systems the research focuses on a number of well defined groups of microbes in terms of their function, diversity and their ecological distribution, i.e. chemolithotrophic microorganisms active in the carbon and nitrogen cycle (cyanobacteria, ammonia- and methane-oxidising bacteria). Wetlands are crucial ecosystems in global nutrient cycles mainly due to the presence of many oxic-anoxic interfaces enabling complete cycling of carbon and nutrients. These interfaces, mainly created by plant roots, offer a suite of environmental conditions functioning as drivers for study of the diversity-functioning relationship.



  • qPC
  • Flow-cytometry


  • Micro-array facilities
  • RNA facilities
  • Proteomics


Focus on:

  • Interaction between molecular microbial ecology and geochemistry

Research objects:

  • Microorganisms, wetland ecosystems (lakes, floodplains)

Main research disciplines:

  • Microbial ecology / molecular microbiology

Project Topics:

  • The role of microbial diversity in geochemical cycles: Cyanobacteria, ammonia-oxidising bacteria, methane-oxidising bacteria, sulphate-reducing bacteria