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Microorganisms, mineral surfaces, and aquatic environments: Learning from the past for future progress


Corresponding author: M. Dittrich. Tel.: +41 (0)41 349 21 11; fax: +41 (0)41 349 21 68; e-mail:


The interactions between the geosphere and the biosphere are central questions in environmental and geological research. The relationship between bacteria and their environment is an important example of these interactions. By studying microbial communities in modern environments, it is possible to understand the underlying mechanisms that shape these environments and apply this knowledge to the rock record. Recently, new experimental and theoretical methods, ranging from nano- and biotechnology to mathematical and conceptual modelling, have come into play. Thus, new opportunities for interdisciplinary research in the field of geobiology have emerged. In this paper, we review aspects of state-of-the-art imaging and modelling techniques and propose a research concept linking the experimental and the theoretical approaches.

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