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Ute Hentschel Humeida

GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel


Marine animals live in intimate contact with their aquatic environment that is characterized by diverse and abundant microorganisms. My research goals are to provide an understanding on the physiology, metabolism and molecular mechanisms of interaction between marine animals and their microbial partners, by taking a function-driven approach. A combination of modern molecular biology techniques, in particular the –omics repertoire, in vivo experimentation, and regular field work is employed towards this goal. Sponges (phylum Porifera) serve as excellent experimental models towards these goals because of their impressive microbial and chemical diversity that not only contributes to their nutritional ecology but has also elicited the interest of the pharmaceutical industry. Our efforts are directed at providing a deeper understanding of the high-complexity microbial ecosystems within sponges, and at providing research strategies to a sustainable use of this natural resource. Specific research areas are:
Marine invertebrate-microbe interactions
Microbiology of marine sponges
Uncultivated microorganisms
Omics (metagenomics, single cell genomics, (meta)-transcriptomics)
Drug discovery from marine actinomycetes


Tel.: +49 431 600-4480

Research activities

Single cell genomic insights into phytoplankton‐virus interactions