• Global Warming:

    the threat of a permafrost Carbon – climate feedback

  • We develop and improve

    stable isotopes techniques for ecological applications

  • Plants, fungi and bacteria interact

    at the root-soil interface

  • Probing the future:

    Climate Change experiments

  • Soil is fundamental to human life

  • Tropical rainforests

    hold the key to global net primary productivity

TER News

  • SINA 2017


    SINA 15th Stable Isotope Network Austria Meeting - 24th-25th of Nov, 2017

    The 15th Stable Isotope Network Austria (SINA) Meeting is organized by the Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem Science and ...

  • New Paper in Ecology Letters: Optimal metabolic regulation along resource stoichiometry gradients


    Most heterotrophic organisms feed on substrates that are poor in nutrients compared to their
    demand, leading to elemental imbalances that may constrain their growth and function. Flexible
    carbon ...

  • David & Daniel

    DD - Day for Daniel & David


    Congratulations to Daniel Wasner and David Zezula, who successfully defended their Master thesis on ecological and physiological aspects of the phosphorus cycle on Friday 28 July! Excellent, David & Daniel! ...

  • NUNATARYUK – A new EU - Horizon 2020 project


    A new Horizon 2020 project has been granted to a large European consortium for researching into “Permafrost thaw and the changing Arctic coast”. Andreas Richter will have a key role ...

Latest publications

Post photosynthetic carbon partitioning to sugar alcohols and consequences for plant growth

The occurrence of sugar alcohols is ubiquitous among plants. Physiochemical properties of sugar alcohols suggest numerous primary and secondary functions in plant tissues and are often well documented. In addition to functions arising from physiochemical properties, the synthesis of sugar alcohols may have significant influence over photosynthetic, respiratory, and developmental processes owing to their function as a large sink for photosynthates. Sink strength is demonstrated by the high concentrations of sugar alcohols found in plant tissues and their ability to be readily transported. The plant scale distribution and physiochemical function of these compounds renders them strong candidates for functioning as stress metabolites. Despite this, several aspects of sugar alcohol biosynthesis and function are poorly characterised namely: 1) the quantitative characterisation of carbon flux into the sugar alcohol pool; 2) the molecular control governing sugar alcohol biosynthesis on a quantitative basis; 3) the role of sugar alcohols in plant growth and ecology; and 4) consequences of sugar alcohol synthesis for yield production and yield quality. We highlight the need to adopt new approaches to investigating sugar alcohol biosynthesis using modern technologies in gene expression, metabolic flux analysis and agronomy. Combined, these approaches will elucidate the impact of sugar alcohol biosynthesis on growth, stress tolerance, yield and yield quality.

Dumschott K, Richter A, Loescher W, Merchant A
2017 - Phytochemistry, 144: 243-252

Organic and inorganic nitrogen uptake by 21 dominant tree species in temperate and tropical forests

Evidence shows that many tree species can take up organic nitrogen (N) in the form of free amino acids from soils, but few studies have been conducted to compare organic and inorganic N uptake patterns in temperate and tropical tree species in relation to mycorrhizal status and successional state. We labeled intact tree roots by brief 15N exposures using field hydroponic experiments in a temperate forest and a tropical forest in China. A total of 21 dominant tree species were investigated, 8 in the temperate forest and 13 in the tropical forest. All investigated tree species showed highest uptake rates for NH4+ (ammonium), followed by glycine and NO3− (nitrate). Uptake of NH4+ by temperate trees averaged 12.8 μg N g−1 dry weight (d.w.) root h−1, while those by tropical trees averaged 6.8 μg N g−1 d.w. root h−1. Glycine uptake rates averaged 3.1 μg N g−1 d.w. root h−1 for temperate trees and 2.4 μg N g−1 d.w. root h−1 for tropical trees. NO3− uptake was the lowest (averaging 0.8 μg N g−1 d.w. root h−1 for temperate trees and 1.2 μg N g−1 d.w. root h−1 for tropical trees). Uptake of NH4+ accounted for 76% of the total uptake of all three N forms in the temperate forest and 64% in the tropical forest. Temperate tree species had similar glycine uptake rates as tropical trees, with the contribution being slightly lower (20% in the temperate forest and 23% in the tropical forest). All tree species investigated in the temperate forest were ectomycorrhizal and all species but one in the tropical forest were arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM). Ectomycorrhizal trees showed significantly higher NH4+ and lower NO3− uptake rates than AM trees. Mycorrhizal colonization rates significantly affected uptake rates and contributions of NO3− or NH4+, but depended on forest types. We conclude that tree species in both temperate and tropical forests preferred to take up NH4+, with organic N as the second most important N source. These findings suggest that temperate and tropical forests demonstrate similar N uptake patterns although they differ in physiology of trees and soil biogeochemical processes.

Liu M, Li C, Xu X, Wanek W, Jiang N, Wang H, Yang X
2017 - Tree Physiology, in press

Lecture series

Microbial function in relation to plant productivity and root exudation in contrasting tundra communities

Konstantin GAVAZOV
Climate Impacts Research Centre (CIRC), Umeå University, Abisko, Sweden
14:00 h
Seminar Room 'Konferenzraum Ökologie' UZA 1, Althanstr. 14, 1090 Wien

LC-MS Approaches in Metabolomics

Gunda Köllensperger, Prof.
University of Vienna, Department of Analytical Chemistry
11:15 h
Seminar Room Microbial Ecology, UZA 1, room no 2.309

Arbuscular mycorrhizas and organic nitrogen in soil – and the other microbes involved

Jan Jasna
Institute of Microbiology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
16:00 h
Friedrich-Becke Seminar Room, UZA 2 (Geozentrum), Althanstr. 14, 1090 Wien