AAU logo

Microbial Evolution


Title: Experimental Evolution Of Microbial Communities  

Microbial communities play a vital role in most processes in the biosphere. The present understanding of their development and function does not include the evolution of new species and functions, i.e. the adaptation to new conditions due to changes in their DNA, primarily due to the lack of suitable methods to monitor evolutionary mechanisms within natural communities. Recent progress in DNA sequencing technologies will enable us to create new bioinformatic tools and experimental evolutionary model systems of uncultured bacterial communities. This will redefine the research area of microbial ecology and improve our understanding of communities relevant for microbial resource management and microbial community engineering for sustainable development.


The project is funded by The Danish Council for Independent Research (FTP) in the period from 2014-2017.

Research areas:

  1. Project 1. Bioinformatic tools to detect evolution in specific species in complex communities. It is the aim to develop a robust statistical framework that uses metagenome time series to delineate old genomic diversity from novel evolution.
  2. Project 2. Effect of perturbations in pH and substrate on microbial community structure and stability. It is the aim to investigate how perturbations in pH and substrate affect community structure and stability.
  3. Project 3. Genomic and functional investigation of adaptation of nitrifiers and denitrifiers. It is the aim to investigate genomic adaptation rate and mechanisms for nitrifiers and denitrifiers as well as their functional (phenotypic) adaptation.
  4. Project 4. Development of a predictive framework for mechanisms underlying community evolution.It is the aim to develop quantitative models predicting evolution mechanisms and development of new species over time in communities.

Project participants:

Aalborg University, Center for Microbial Communities:

Århus University, Bioinformatics Research Center (BiRC):

  • Thomas Bataillon, Associate Professor
  • NN, Postdoc.

Århus University, Dept. of Bioscience:

  • Andreas Schramm, Professor

International collaboration: