Department of Limnology and Biological Oceanography


news from the Department of Limnology and Bio-Oceanography:

Article on food assimilation in rotifers published in Freshwater biology

Alfred Burian, Martin J. Kainz, Michael Schagerl and Andrew Yasindi, 2014: Species-specific separation of lake plankton reveals divergent food assimilation patterns in rotifers. Freshwater Biology 59: 1257–1265; doi: 10.1111/fwb.12345


More on this work :

Link to journal article.
Download article as pdf file (open access).

review by Monika Bright and co-authors published in Frontiers in Microbiology

Monika Bright, Salvador Espada-Hinojosa, Ilias Lagkouvardos, Jean-Marie Volland: The giant ciliate Zoothamnium niveum and its thiotrophic epibiont Candidatus Thiobios zoothamnicoli: a model system to study interspecies cooperation. Frontiers in Microbiology, online, April 7, 2014; doi:10.3389/fmicb.2014.00145


Read more on Monika Brights work here.


More on this work:

Link to journal article and download article as pdf file (open access).

Mia Bengtsson receives a Back-to-Research Grant

"I wanted to be able to see and experience the things that are invisible because they are so small", says the microbiologist Mia Bengtsson who received a Back-to-Research Grant and works at the Department of Limnology and Oceanography of the University of Vienna.


Read more about Mia here. You may also visit her personal page.

New Seminar series of the Division of Bio-Oceanography and Marine Biology

The new program for the spring seminar series 2014 is online.


More information can be found here.

Katharina Besemer receives Erwin-Schrödinger stipend

Katharina Besemer received a Erwin-Schrödinger stipend from the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) to work with Christopher Quince at the University of Glasgow on the metagenomics and community modelling of microbial biofilms in streams.

Gerhard Herndl receives the 2014 G. Evelyn Hutchinson Award by the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO)

Gerhard Herndl has received this years G. Evelyn Hutchinson Award from the Association forthe Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography’s (ASLO) for his contributions to the development of oceanography and aquatic microbial ecology, for broadening our understanding of the interactions between microbes and marine biogeochemical cycles, for spearheading the exploration of the dark ocean, and for his excellence and dedication to training and community service.                              

The G. Evelyn Hutchinson award is given by ASLO to honor a limnology and oceanography scientist who has made considerable contributions to knowledge, and whose future work promises a continuing legacy of scientific excellence. The award was presented at the 17th biennial Ocean Sciences Meeting at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, on 26 February 2014.


More on Gerhard Herndls work can be found here.

New Seminar series of the division of Limnology

The new program for the spring seminar series 2014 is online.


More information can be found here.

International Conference on Biofilms hosted at the University of Vienna

The 6th International Conference on Biofilms will take place at the University of Vienna, Austria, 11-13 May 2014.

„Understanding biofilms“ with a focus on environmental and technical systems and on general biofilm research is the theme of this International Conference.


For more information please visit the conference website:

The virus’s tooth - cyanophages affect an African flamingo population in a bottom up cascade

A recent study by Peter Peduzzi and Co-authors links flamingo abundance to virus infections of cyanobacteria, the base of a short food chain.


Peter Peduzzi, Martin Gruber, Michael Gruber & Michael Schagerl, 2014. The ISME Journal, advance online, January 16, 2014; doi:10.1038/ismej.2013.241


Trophic cascade effects occur when a food web is disrupted by loss or significant reduction of one or more of its members. In East African Rift Valley lakes, the Lesser Flamingo is on top of a short food chain. At irregular intervals, the dominance of their most important food source, the cyanobacterium Arthrospira fusiformis, is interrupted. Bacteriophages are known as potentially controlling photoautotrophic bacterioplankton. In Lake Nakuru (Kenya), we found the highest abundance of suspended viruses ever recorded in a natural aquatic system. We document that cyanophage infection and the related breakdown of A. fusiformis biomass led to a dramatic reduction in flamingo abundance. This documents for the first time that virus infection at the very base of a food chain can affect, in a bottom-up cascade, the distribution of end-consumers. We anticipate this as an important example for virus-mediated cascading effects, potentially occurring also in various other aquatic food webs.


Link to journal article:

Donwload article as .pdf file (open access):


Microbial diversity in stream networks

Besemer, K Singer GA, Quince C, E Bertuzzo, W Sloan and  TJ Battin, 2013. Headwaters are critical reservoirs of microbial diversity for fluvial networks Proceedings of the Royal Society B.


Streams and rivers form conspicuous networks and life therein figures among the most diverse on Earth. The common wisdom has been that biodiversity in these fluvial networks accumulates downstream similar to water and sediments. Combing sequencing with ecology, the freshwater scientists have now shown together with colleagues from Switzerland and the United Kingdom that this does not hold for microorganisms, which show their highest diversity in headwaters. Their findings highlight headwaters as vital for the microbial biodiversity in entire fluvial networks. These findings are critical given the numerous ecosystem functions microbes fulfil and the fact that headwaters are increasingly under thread worldwide.


Link to journal article:

Microbial control of the dark end of the biological pump

Herndl, G. J., and T. Reinthaler, 2013. Microbial control of the dark end of the biological pump. Nature Geoscience 6: 718–724, doi:10.1038/ngeo1921


A fraction of the carbon captured by phytoplankton in the sunlit surface ocean sinks to depth as dead organic matter and faecal material. The microbial breakdown of this material in the subsurface ocean generates carbon dioxide. Collectively, this microbially mediated flux of carbon from the atmosphere to the ocean interior is termed the biological pump. In recent decades it has become clear that the composition of the phytoplankton community in the surface ocean largely determines the quantity and quality of organic matter that sinks to depth. This settling organic matter, however, is not sufficient to meet the energy demands of microbes in the dark ocean. Two additional sources of organic matter have been identified: non-sinking organic particles of debated origin that escape capture by sediment traps and exhibit stable concentrations throughout the dark ocean, and microbes that convert inorganic carbon into organic matter. Whether these two sources can together account for the significant mismatch between organic matter consumption and supply in the dark ocean remains to be seen. It is clear, however, that the microbial community of the deep ocean works in a fundamentally different way from surface water communities.


Link to journal article: