Dr. Jörg Schnecker

University of Vienna
Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem Science
Division of Terrestrial Ecosystem Research
Djerassiplatz 1
A-1030 Vienna
Phone: +43 1 4277
Phone Extension: 91271


As a soil ecologist and biogeochemist, I want to find out how microbes contribute to decomposition and formation of organic matter in soils.

Soil microorganisms play crucial roles in soil carbon cycling. They degrade plant material and soil organic matter which leads to the release of carbon in the form of CO2 to the atmosphere. I am interested in the controls over microbial decomposition in soil, which include temperature, microbial interactions and community composition as well as interactions of microbes, organic matter and the soil matrix. A mechanistic understanding of these controls will help to estimate how soil carbon cycling will be altered under a future climate and will improve climate change predictions.

Microorganisms in soils however also contribute to the formation of soil organic matter and act as a soil carbon pump that transports carbon from the litter layer on the soil surface into the soil. The role and importance of microorganisms in the efficient formation of stable soil organic matter, and how this role changes during a year is another main focus of my research. By finding out why and when microbes efficiently transform carbon inputs into stable soil carbon this research could be the basis to develop and adapt agricultural practices with the goal to sequester carbon in agricultural systems and counteract climate change.


For a full list of my publications visit my Google Scholar site 

  • Wild B, Alaei S, Bengtson P, Bode S, Boeckx P, Schnecker J, Mayerhofer W and Rütting T. 2017. Carbon input increases microbial nitrogen demand, but not microbial nitrogen mining, in boreal forest soils. Biogeochemistry, 136, 3, 261-278. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10533-017-0391-0
  • Schnecker J, Borken W, Schindlbacher A and Wanek W. 2016. Little effects on soil organic matter chemistry of density fractions after seven years of forest soil warming. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 103, 300-307. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2016.09.003
  • Schindlbacher A, Schnecker J, Takriti M, Borken W, and Wanek W. 2015. Microbial physiology and soil CO2 efflux after 9 years of soil warming in a temperate forest – no indications for thermal adaptations. Global Change Biology 21 (11), 4265-4277. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.12996
  • Schnecker J, Wild B, Takriti M, Alves R, Gentsch N, Gittel A, Hofer A, Klaus K, Knoltsch A, Lashchinskiy N, Mikutta R, and Richter A. 2015. Microbial community composition shapes enzyme patterns in topsoil and subsoil horizons along a latitudinal transect in Western Siberia. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 83, 106-115. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2015.01.016
  • Hofhansl F, Schnecker J, Singer G and Wanek W. 2014. New insights into mechanisms driving carbon allocation in tropical rainforests. New Phytologist, 205 (1), 137-146. https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.13007
  • Wild B, Schnecker J, Alves R, Barsukov P, Bárta J, Čapek P, Gentsch N, Gittel A, Guggenberger G, Mikutta R, Lashchinskiy N, Rusalimova O, Šantrůčková H, Shibistova O, Urich T, Watzka M, Zrazhevskaya G, and Richter A. 2014. Input of easily available organic C and N stimulates microbial decomposition of soil organic matter in arctic permafrost soil. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 75, 143-151. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2014.04.014
  • Mooshammer M, Wanek W, Hämmerle I, Fuchslueger L, Hofhansl F, Knoltsch A, Schnecker J, Takriti M, Watzka M, Wild B, Keiblinger KM, Zechmeister-Boltenstern S, and Richter A. 2014. Adjustment of microbial N use efficiency to C:N imbalances regulates soil N cycling. Nature Communications 5, 3694. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms4694
  • Schnecker J, Wild B, Hofhansl F, Alves R, Bárta J, Čapek P, Fuchslueger L, Gentsch N, Gittel A, Guggenberger G, Hofer A, Kienzl S, Knoltsch A, Lashchinskiy N, Mikutta R, Šantrůčková H, Shibistova O, Takriti M, Urich T, Weltin G, and Richter A. 2014. Effects of soil organic matter properties and microbial community composition on enzyme activities in cryoturbated arctic soils. PLoS ONE 9, e94076. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0094076
  • Gittel A, Bárta J, Kohoutová I, Mikutta R, Owens S, Gilbert J, Schnecker J, Wild B, Hannisdal B, Maerz J, Lashchinskiy N, Čapek P, Šantrůčková H, Gentsch N, Shibistova O, Guggenberger G, Richter A, Torsvik V, Schleper C, and Urich T. 2014. Distinct microbial communities associated with buried soils in the Siberian tundra. The ISME Journal 8, 841-853. https://doi.org/10.1038/ismej.2013.219



SEACUE - Seasonal dynamics of soil microbial carbon sequestration