Dr. Michael Pester
My research interests encompass the biology and interactions of biogeochemically important microorganisms from an ecophysiological and ecosystem service perspective. In my group, we are particularly interested in microorganisms driving the sulfur and nitrogen cycle in freshwater environments such as peatlands, rice paddy fields, and lakes. Our current projects encompass:
(i) Identifiying microorganisms that drive the hidden sulfur cycle in peatlands using metagenomics, single cell genomics, metatranscriptomics, and high-throughput amplicon sequencing. In addition, we follow specific microbial taxa by qPCR analyses and monitor biogeochemical parameters using techniques like capillary electrophoresis and gas chromatography.
(ii) Eco-systems biology of the hidden sulfur cycle in rice paddy fields. Here, we are aiming to elucidate the identity and ecophysiology of sulfate reducing and sulfur oxidizing microorganisms using RNA and Protein stable isotope probing, metaproteogenomics, high-trouhghput amplicon sequencing, and anaerobic cultivation.
(iii) Comparative genomics of Desulfosporosinus spp. Desulfosporosinus spp. can be important sulfate reducers in freshwater environments because they are able to compensate their very low natural abundance with high cell-specific sulfate reduction rates. This makes them an interesting model for highly active rare biosphere members that contribute to biogeochemical cycling of elements. Using comparative genomics and subsequent proteomic analyses, we aim to understand why Desulfosporosinus spp. are so successful as low abundance poulations and what ecological forces prevent these microorganisms of becoming more abundant despite their success.
(iv) Nitrification in a changing lake ecosystem. In this project, we study the influence of global warming on microorganisms driving the conversion of ammonia to nitrate in Lake Constance as an important prealpine lake and drinking water reservoir. Using process measurements of ammonia conversion and high-throughput amplicon sequencing of functional marker genes targeting the various microbial groups that drive nitrification, we are aiming to understand how the steadily increasing water temperatures in lakes influence population dynamics of nitrifying microorganisms and as a consequence the process of nitrification itself.
(v) Succession of bacterioplankton in Lake Constance over the annual cycle. In this collaborative project with the junior research group of David Schleheck, the Limnology Institute and the Genomics Center of Konstanz, we are aiming to characterize major bacterioplancton populations in Lake Constance and follow their succession over the annual cycel.
Hausmann, B., Knorr, K.-H. Schreck, K., Tringe, S.G., Glavina del Rio, T., Loy, A., Pester, M. (2016) Consortia of low-abundance bacteria drive sulfate reduction-dependent degradation of fermentation products in peat soil microcosms. ISME J. 10: 2365–2375
Bornemann, M., Bussmann, I., Tichy, L., Deutzmann, J., Schink, B., Pester, M. (2016) Methane release from sediment seeps to the atmosphere is counteracted by highly active Methylococcaceae in the water column of deep oligotrophic Lake Constance. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. Published ahaed of print, doi: 10.1093/femsec/fiw1123.
Patil, Y., Junghare, M., Pester, M., Müller, N., Schink, B. (2015) Characterization and phylogeny of Anaerobium acetethylicum gen. nov., sp. nov., a strictly anaerobic gluconate-fermenting bacterium isolated from a methanogenic bioreactor. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 65: 3289-3296
Müller, N., Scherag, F.D., Pester, M., Schink, B. (2015) Bacillus stamsii sp. nov., a facultatively anaerobic sugar degrader that is numerically dominant in freshwater lake sediment. Syst. Appl. Microbiol. 38: 379-389
Schlotz, N., Pester, M., Freese, H., Martin-Creuzburg, D. (2014) A dietary polyunsaturated fatty acid improves consumer performance during challenge with an opportunistic bacterial pathogen. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. Accepted
Gruber-Dorninger, C., Pester, M., Kitzinger, K., Savio, D. F., Loy, A., Rattei, T., Wagner, M., and Daims, H. (2014) Functionally relevant diversity of closely related Nitrospira in activated sludge. ISME J. accepted
Pester, M., Maixner, F. ,Berry, D., Rattei, T., Koch. H., Lücker, S., Nowka, B., Richter, A., Spieck, E., Lebedeva, E., Loy, A., Wagner, M., and Daims, H. (2013) NxrB encoding the beta subunit of nitrite oxidoreductase as novel functional and phylogenetic marker for nitrite-oxidizing Nitrospira. Environ. Microbiol. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.12300
Pester, M., Brambilla, E., Alazard, D., Rattei, T., Weinmaier, T., Han, J. et al. (2012) Complete genome sequences of Desulfosporosinus orientis DSM765T, Desulfosporosinus youngiae DSM17734T, Desulfosporosinus meridiei DSM13257T, and Desulfosporosinus acidiphilus DSM22704T. J Bacteriol. 194: 6300–6301
Vandieken, V., Pester, M., Finke, N., Hyun, J.-H., Friedrich, M.W., Loy, A., and Thamdrup, B. (2012) Three manganese oxide-rich marine sediments harbor similar communities of acetate-oxidizing manganese-reducing bacteria. ISME J. 6: 2078–2090
Pester, M., Knorr, K.-H., Friedrich, M.W., Wagner, M., and Loy, M. (2012) Sulfate reducing microorganisms in wetlands – fameless actors in carbon cycling and climate change. Front. Microbiol. 3: doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2012.00072
Pester, M., Rattei, T., Flechl, S., Gröngröft, A., Richter, A., Overmann, J., Reinhold-Hurek, B., Loy, A., and Wagner, M. (2012) amoA-based consensus phylogeny of ammonia-oxidizing archaea and deep sequencing of amoA genes from soils of four different geographic regions. Environ. Microbiol. 14: 52–539
Pester, M., Schleper, C., Wagner, M. (2011) The Thaumarchaeota: An emerging view of their phylogeny and ecophysiology. Curr. Opin. Microbiol. 14: 300–306
Steger, D., Wentrup, C., Braunegger, C., Deevong, P., Hofer, M., Richter, A., Baranyi, C., Pester, M., Wagner, M., and Loy, A. (2011) Microorganisms with novel dissimilatory (bi)sulfite reductase genes are widespread and part of the core microbiota in low-sulfate peatlands. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 77: 1231–1242
Loy, A., Pester, M., and Steger D. (2011) Phylogentic microarrays for cultivation-independent identification and metabolic characterization of microorganisms in complex samples. Methods Mol. Biol. 688:187–206
Loy, A. and Pester, M. (2010) Probing identity and physiology of uncultured microorganisms with isotopic labeling techniques. In Geomicrobiology: Molecular and Environmental Perspective. Barton, L., Mandl, M., Loy, A. (eds.). Springer: Heidelberg, pp. 127–146
Pester, M., Bittner, N., Deevong, P., Wagner, M., and Loy, A. (2010) A 'rare biosphere' microorganism drives sulfate reduction in a peatland. ISME J. 4:1591–1602
Tholen, A., Pester, M., and Brune, A. (2007) Simultaneous methanogenesis and oxygen reduction by Methanobrevibacter cuticularis at low oxygen fluxes. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 62: 303–312
Pester, M. and Brune, A. (2007) Hydrogen is the central free intermediate during lignocellulose degradation by termite gut symbionts. ISME J. 1: 551–565
Pester, M., Tholen, A., Friedrich, M. W., and Brune, A. (2007) Methane oxidation in termite hindguts – absence of evidence and evidence of absence. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 73: 2024–2028
Pester, M. and Brune, A. (2006) Expression profiles of fhs (FTHFS) genes support the hypothesis that spirochaetes dominate reductive acetogenesis in the hindgut of lower termites. Environ. Microbiol. 8: 1261–1270
Brune, A. and Pester, M. (2005) In situ measurements of metabolite fluxes: microinjection of radiotracers into insect guts and other small compartments. In Methods in Enzymology. Leadbetter, J. R. (ed). Elsevier: London, pp. 200–212
Bussmann, I., Pester, M., Brune, A., and Schink, B. (2004) Preferential cultivation of type II methanotrophic bacteria from littoral sediments (Lake Constance). FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 47: 179–189
Pester, M., Friedrich, M. W., Schink, B., and Brune, A. (2004) pmoA-based analysis of methanotrophs in a littoral lake sediment reveals a diverse and stable community in a dynamic environment. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 70: 3138–3142