Our group studies the evolution and ecology of inherited bacterial symbionts of arthropods. These symbionts occur in an estimated 50% of all terrestrial arthropods and may profoundly impact their host’s biology, e.g., through manipulation of reproduction, protection from pathogens, or provisioning of nutrients. Our aim is to better understand how inherited symbionts have become so abundant and diverse. In particular, we are interested in how host shifts have contributed to the success of inherited arthropod symbionts.
To this end, we perform host shifts under controlled experimental conditions and document how symbionts evolve in adaptation to novel host environments. We further study natural symbiont-host communities in and around Leipzig and use genomics to determine the symbiont properties important for host shifts.
Dr Michael Gerth
Head of Junior Research Group
Phone: +49 341 9739145
Phone: +49 341 9733239
German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig