Research Projects

Group Leader

Emmy Noether Research Group for Organosulfur Cycling

Dr. Eileen Kröber

MPI for Marine Microbiology
Celsiusstr. 1
D-28359 Bremen




+49 421 2028-8250

Dr. Eileen Kröber

Research Projects

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Organosulfur cycling in chemosynthetic symbioses

Chemosynthetic symbioses, where chemosynthetic bacteria provide essential nutrition to their eukaryotic hosts, are remarkably diverse and are commonly found in nutrient-limited environments like seagrass meadows, coral reefs, and mangroves. These environments, while seemingly resource-scarce, are rich in organosulfur compounds such as dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) and dimethylsulfide (DMS). The significance of these organosulfur compounds for ocean biology and ecology has only recently been recognized.

It is now widely acknowledged that organosulfur compounds play a pivotal role in various biogeochemical cycles. They serve as critical sources of sulfur, carbon, and energy for marine microorganisms and have far-reaching effects on the Earth’s climate. Despite this recognition, our understanding of how organosulfur compounds are produced, consumed, and cycled remains limited.

In light of the fact that nutrition is often a limiting factor in the habitats where chemosynthetic symbioses thrive, the utilization of organosulfur compounds emerges as a valuable source of energy and carbon for these partnerships. Our research endeavors to assess and demonstrate the importance of organosulfur compounds in sustaining the nutritional needs of chemosynthetic symbioses. Through our work, we aim to shed light on the intricate interactions and dependencies within these ecosystems, contributing to a deeper understanding of their functioning and ecological significance.

DMSP and DMS cycling in Seagrass meadows
Seagrass meadows fix enormous amounts of CO2 and produce DMSP. This can be degraded to DMS and used as an energy, carbon and sulfur source for free-living marine microorganisms and chemosynthetic symbionts. Artwork: A. Esken, R. Janke, E. Kröber
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