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Faculty for Biology, Chemistry, and Earth Sciences

Department of Mycology: Prof. Dr. Gerhard Rambold

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1 — Fungal communities

Structure and Functions of Plant-Associated Fungal Communities

Endophytic fungi are capable of inhabiting plant tissue and surface. As endophytes, fungi often affect the host plant itself, as well as the plant's interaction with the environment, sometimes even contributing to their host's protection against phytopathogenic organisms. In order to make these insights applicable for agriculture and forestry it is necessary to identify the factors determining the composition and structure of microbial communities in the different host plants. Phytopathogenic fungi on trees can cause significant economic damage, especially fungal infestations on members of the Rosaceae family can often lead up to high consequential costs. Success of introduced counter-measurements often depends on the timely recognition of infections. Therefore, techniques for an early detection of the causative pathogen are developed through efficient molecular screening methods. The development of a microarray chip, intended to be applied as a diagnostic tool in Germany and some of her neighbouring states, is part of the project “German Barcode of Life II (GBOL II) – Pilze in Obstbau- und Forstwirtschaft”. The design of the microarray probes will be founded on data obtained from high-throughput gene sequencing of fungal communities associated with Rosaceae.

Effects of fungal diversity on microplastic degradation

The kingdom Fungi hosts a range of potential candidates from classes of Ascomycetes and Basidiomycetes with microplastic degradation capabilities. Such organisms are essential in remediating environmental hazards caused by the random dispersals of plastics. Parallel approaches applying the use of culture dependent and culture independent methods are integral in adressing the central theme of the project "SFB Mikroplastik". Growth patterns of fungi and their biosynthesized enzyme's ability to degrade microplastics (0-5 mm in size) are evaluated using selective and non-selective culture media and exoenzyme assays, respectively. Culture independent approaches are based on high-throughput sequencing of fungal barcoding gene regions (ITS 1 and 2) from metagenomic analysis, for characterizing fungal diversity from plastic contaminated soils obtained from dumping sites. 

Structure and Function of Soil-Inhabiting Fungal Communities

Soils host complex microbial communities, spread on a small scale, in which fungi contribute significantly to the decomposition of biomass and facilitate nutrient availability for uptake by plant roots. Current examinations focus on the diversities and functions of soil-dwelling fungal communities in the savannas of East Africa and temperate forests of Bavaria.

Soil communities in the temperate forests of Bavaria are studied under the project "Hoehen- und Bewirtschaftungsgradient in einem deutschen Mittelgebirge zur Abschätzung von Veränderungen in Waldökosystemen im Klimawandel". Within this study, the distribution of tree species along an altitudinal gradient is one of the primary factors considered for the evaluation of the fungal community metabarcoding results. Additionally, evaluation of funtional guilds of these communities are essential for a wholistic understanding of the interactions between the soil and plants.

The Lambwe Valley project (Kenya, East Africa) aims to gain insights into the how fungal soil communities vary with different land uses. Key land uses include lifestock grazing and cultivation history. This study is principally based on high-throughput sequencing of barcode marker genes.

Halotolerant Fungi in Hypersaline Niches

Compared to the communities of Archaea and Bacteria, relatively little is known about the biodiversity of halotolerant fungi. The East African region is one of the niches that serve as a potential source for unknown extremotolerant organisms. Ongoing studies are primarily concerned with culture-dependent analytical methods. Samples that were isolated from the stone surface of the cave walls are tested referring to their tolerance towards salts and are then analysed according to their marker genes.

Active Projects (with partial focus on this field)

[prev.] BMBF 01LIO205Participation in the continous further datenbase modelling und rich client implementation of the Diversity Workbench framework components
Gerhard Rambold
Z_Myk_2000-02Weiterentwicklung verschiedener Biodiversitäts-Internetportale in Kooperation mit dem IT-Zentrum der Staatlichen Naturwissenschaftlichen Sammlungen Bayerns (SNSB)
Gerhard Rambold

Completed Projects (with main focus on this field)

BMBF 01LI1501MGBOL: German Barcode of Life – From Science to Application (GBOL-2) – Project 12: Design und Implementation of Fungal-specific Microarrays ('EcoChips') for Diagnostics
Janno Harjes, Gerhard Rambold
DFG RA 731/9-1Assessing fungal diversity in soil, using the microarray chip technology
Derek Peršoh, Gerhard Rambold
DFG RA 731/16-1Towards an integrative and comprehensive standard for meta-omics data of collection objects (MOD-CO)
Gerhard Rambold
FKZ 28W-C-4-122-03Höhen - und Bewirtschaftungsgradient in einem deutschen Mittelgebirge zur Abschätzung von Veränderungen in Waldökosystemen im Klimawandel
Daniel Osieko Okach, Gerhard Rambold
[previous] DFG GRK 678/2, project D3Endophytic fungi in Calluna
Andrea Pietrowski, Gerhard Rambold
UniBAY A 4515 – I/3Diversity of acarophilous fungi in soils
Sebastian Werner, Derek Peršoh, Gerhard Rambold
Z_Myk_2005-01Wurzel-assoziierte Pilze an Calluna vulgaris
Katja Herzog, Andrea Pietrowski, Gerhard Rambold
Z_Myk_2006-01Beitrag zur Kenntnis endophytischer Pilze in Viscum album
Martina Melcher, Gerhard Rambold
Z_Myk_2006-02Studien zur Vergesellschaftung epifoliarer pigmentierter Pilze mit Schwerpunkt in Oberfranken
Fabienne Flessa, Gerhard Rambold
Z_Myk_2010-05Diversity of epifoliar pigmented fungi on Rhododendron
Fabienne Flessa, Gerhard Rambold
Z_Myk_2010-07Fagus leaves-inhabiting fungi and their impact on Cecidomyiid gall formation
Alexandra Kehl, Anja Zigan, Derek Peršoh, Gerhard Rambold
Z_Myk_2010-08Fagus leaves-inhabiting fungi and their impact on leaf decomposition
Derek Peršoh, Julia Segert, Gerhard Rambold

Completed Projects (with partial focus on this field)

BMBF 01LIO205Aufbau und Optimierung der knotenspezifischen Informatik-Infrastruktur (Diversity Workbench-Komponenten und kompatible Module)
Gerhard Rambold
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