Jun-Prof Michael Gerth

Head of Junior Research Group
Symbiont Evolution



from 03/2023Junior Professor for "Evolution and Biodiversity" at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg
from 06/2022Head of Junior Research Group "Symbiont Evolution" at iDiv
01/2019 – 09/2021Lecturer in Ecology and Conservation at Oxford Brookes University, United Kingdom
10/2015 – 12/2018Postdoctoral researcher at University of Liverpool, United Kingdom
05/2015Dr. rer. nat. Universität Leipzig, Germany

Publications before iDiv



Rafaluk-Mohr C, Gerth M, Sealey J, Ekroth AKE, Aboobaker AA, Kloock A, King KC (2022) Microbial protection favours mortality tolerance and alters host-parasite coevolutionary dynamics. Current Biology 32: 1593–1598.e3.


Arif S, Gerth M, Hone-Millard WG, Nunes MDS, Dapporto L, Shreeve TG (2021) Evidence for multiple colonisations and Wolbachia infections shaping the genetic structure of the widespread butterfly Polyommatus icarus in the British Isles. Molecular Ecology 30: 5196–5213.

Ekroth AKE, Gerth M, Stevens EJ, Ford SA, King KC (2021) Host genotype and genetic diversity shape the evolution of a novel bacterial infection. The ISME Journal 15: 2146–2157.

Gerth M, Martinez-Montoya H, Ramirez P, Masson F, Griffin JS,Aramayo R, Siozios S, Lemaitre B, Mateos M, Hurst GDD (2021) Rapid molecular evolution of Spiroplasma symbionts of Drosophila. Microbial Genomics 7: 000053.


Sontowski R, Gerth M, Richter S, Gruppe A, Schlegel M, van Dam N, Bleidorn C (2020) Infection patterns and fitness effects of Rickettsia and Sodalis symbionts in the green lacewing Chrysoperla carnea. Insects 11: 867.

Glowska E, Filutowska ZK, Dabert M, Gerth M (2020) Microbial composition of enigmatic bird parasites: Wolbachia and Spiroplasma are the most important associates of quill mites (Acariformes: Syringophilidae). MicrobiologyOpen: 00:e964.

Dencker T, Leimeister C, Gerth M, Bleidorn C, Snir S, Morgenstern B (2020) ‘Multi-SpaM’: a maximum-likelihood approach to phylogeny reconstruction using multiple spaced-word matches and quartet trees. NAR Genomics and Bioinformatics: lqz013.


Chrostek E, Gerth M (2019) Is Anopheles gambiae a natural host of Wolbachia? mBio 10: e00784-19.

Leimeister C, Schellhorn J, Dörrer S, Gerth M, Bleidorn C, Morgenstern C (2019) Prot-SpaM: Fast alignment-free phylogeny reconstruction based on whole-proteome sequences, GigaScience: giy148.


Siozios S, Gerth M, Griffin JS, Hurst GDD (2018) Symbiosis: Wolbachia host shifts in the fast lane. Current Biology 28: R269–R271.

Bleidorn C,  Gerth M (2018) A critical re-evaluation of multilocus sequence typing (MLST) efforts in Wolbachia.FEMS Microbiology Ecology 94: fix163.


Gerth M, Wolf R, Bleidorn C, Richter J, Sontowski R, Unrein J, Schlegel M, Gruppe A (2017) Green lacewings (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) are commonly associated with a diversity of rickettsial endosymbionts. Zoological Letters 3: 12.

Gerth M, Hurst GDD​ (2017) Short reads from honey bee (Apis sp.) sequencing projects reflect microbial associate diversity. PeerJ 5: e3529.

Menger J, Gerth M, Unrein J, Henle K, Schlegel M (2017) Isolation and characterization of Polymorphic microsatellite loci from the Rufous-throated Antbird Gymnopithys rufigula (Aves: Thamnophilidae). The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 129: 407–411.


Gerth M, Bleidorn C (2016) Comparative genomics provides a timeframe for Wolbachia evolution and exposes a recent biotin synthesis operon transfer. Nature Microbiology 2: 16241.

Gerth M (2016) Classification of Wolbachia (Alphaproteobacteria, Rickettsiales): No evidence for a distinct supergroup in cave spiders. Infection, Genetics and Evolution 43: 378–380.

Suh A, Witt CC, Menger J, Sadanandan KR, Podsiadlowski L, Gerth M, Weigert A, McGuire JA, Mudge J, Edwards SV, Rheindt FE (2016) Ancient horizontal transfers of retrotransposons between birds and ancestors of human pathogenic nematodes. Nature Communications 7: 11396.

Aguado MT, Grande C, Gerth M, Bleidorn C, Norena C (2016) Characterization of the complete mitochondrial genomes from Polycladida (Plathyhelminthes) using next-generation sequencing. Gene 575: 199–205.

Weigert A, Golombek A, Gerth M, Schwarz F, Struck TH, Bleidorn C (2016) Evolution of mitochondrial gene order in Annelida. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 94: 196–206.


Sontowski R, Bernhard D, Bleidorn C, Schlegel M, Gerth M (2015) Wolbachia distribution in selected beetle taxa characterized by PCR screens and MLST data. Ecology and Evolution 5: 4345–4353.

Kahnt B, Gerth M, Paxton RJ, Bleidorn C, Husemann M (2015) The complete mitochondrial genome of the endemic and highly specialised South African bee species, Rediviva intermixta (Hymenoptera: Melittidae), with a comparison to other bee mitogenomes. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 116: 940–953.

Gerth M, Saaed A, White JA, Bleidorn C (2015) Extensive screen for bacterial endosymbionts reveals taxon specific distribution patterns among bees (Hymenoptera, Anthophila) FEMS Microbiology Ecology 91: fiv047.

Glowska E, Dragun-Damian A, Dabert M, Gerth M (2015) New Wolbachia supergroups detected in quill mites (Acari: Syringophilidae). Infection, Genetics and Evolution 30: 140–146.


Gerth M, Gansauge M-T, Weigert A and Bleidorn C (2014) Phylogenomic analyses uncover origin and spread of the Wolbachia pandemic. Nature Communications 5: 5117.

Kahnt B, Soro A, Kuhlmann M, Gerth M, Paxton RJ (2014) Insights into the biodiversity of the Succulent Karoo hotspot of South Africa: the population genetics of a rare and endemic halictid bee, Patellapis doleriticaConservation Genetics 15: 1491–1502.


Gerth M, Röthe J, Bleidorn C (2013) Tracing horizontal Wolbachia movements among bees (Anthophila): a combined approach using MLST data and host phylogeny. Molecular Ecology 22: 6149–6162.

Gerth M, Bleidorn C (2013) A multilocus sequence typing (MLST) approach to diminish the problems that are associated with DNA barcoding: A reply to Stahlhut et  al. (2012). Systematics and Biodiversity 11: 15–17.​


Gerth M, Geissler A, Bleidorn C (2011) Wolbachia infections in bees (Anthophila) and possible implications for DNA barcoding. Systematics and Biodiversity 9: 319–327.

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Puschstrasse 4
04103 Leipzig

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+49 341 9739145
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Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

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