Department Environmental Microbiology

Environmental Microbiology

Our research focuses on microbial life and activities in the environment. We strive to understand the basic rules and principles that govern the functioning of microbes and microbial communities, and then apply those principles to solve pressing applied problems.

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Pathogens and Human Health: Article about the infection risks from using contaminated water for handwashing to inform the need for monitoring microbial quality of handwashing water. Article

Microbial Systems Ecology: Article about how individual cells in bacterial populations can spezialize in their metabolism and work together. Article

Microbial Systems Ecology: Article about bacterial evolution: bacterial genes are organized in a modular way, and over evolutionary times bacteria keep or lose whole modules. Article

Drinking Water Microbiology: A paper showing the influence of pipe material composition with respect to biofilm quantity and composition, with specific focus on flexible shower hoses.

Microbial community assembly: Article about the "division of metabolic labor". Addresses the question of why different steps of metabolic pathways are sometimes distributed among different microbial genotypes. Article

Umik Seminars

Open position

Tenure-track Group Leader in Environmental Microbiology

We are seeking excellent scientists with a strong track record to establish an innovative, independent research program with a clear vision to advance the field of microbiology of natural or engineered aquatic systems.

Open position


September 17, 2019

Implementation of the Montreal Protocol has successfully prevented depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer and associated increases in levels of UV-B radiation at the Earth’s surface. But many questions remain to be answered – for example, how does climate change affect the exposure of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems to UV radiation? This is one of the questions discussed in a review article, co-authored by former Eawag scientist Barbara Sulzberger, which was recently published in Nature Sustainability. Read more

Research Projects

Exploration of the impact of water chlorination on fecal carriage of antimicrobial resistant bacteria amongst a cohort of Bangladeshi children
In order to better understand natural processes and also to be able to better control the activities of microbial communities in technical systems such as wastewater treatment plants, we need to understand how microbial communities work.
Biofilms on materials in contact with potable water can be manipulated due to their dependencies on material composition.
Plastic materials are of major environmental concern.