Over a number of years we have focused our scientific efforts on problems related to the ecology of soil microoganisms, including their interactions with plants and animals. We use a combination of different approaches; from detailed mechanistic experiments on organisms in well defined laboratory systems to studies on microbial communities in natural soils. Members in our group has played a key role in introducing new methods to assess the biomass, growth and activity of saprophytic and symbiotic (ectomycorrhizal) fungi in soils. These methods are used in several projects that study the effects of environmental factors (like temperature and pollution) on the growth and activity of fungi (including mycorrhiza) and bacteria in soils.
The diversity of microbial communities is commonly analyzed using molecular methods like ribosomal DNA sequences. The molecular mechanisms and evolution of symbiotic and parasitic fungal-host interactions are examined using tools of genomics and functional genomics. Stable isotopes are used for identifying key microorganisms involved in C and N fluxes and to track the flow of C from plant through microorganisms to the soil. Radioactive isotopes are used to determine microbial growth rates in soil. Field studies are conducted on various sites in Sweden and Europe that have been subjected to controlled experimental manipulations like different loads of nitrogen input.
A large part of our research addresses fundamental questions in soil microbial ecology. The work is also of importance for applied problems such as the effects of pollutants and global climate change on soil ecosystems. Several of us are active in the strategic research initiative BECC - Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in a Changing Climate and the Linneus-program LUCCI Centre for Studies of Carbon Cycle and Climate interactions.