Together for Biodiversity

Microbial Diversity and Evolution - MDE



Group Description

Microbial Diversity and Evolution (MDE) is a group formally established in March 2011, aiming to foster basic and applied research focused on the diversity and evolution of microorganisms, and promote public awareness in this scope.


The research carried out in MDE is structured into three main topics, with converging interests:

  • Microbial evolution;
  • Microbial diversity;
  • Microbiology education and communication.

Presently there is a growing interest in assessing microbial biodiversity for the preservation and improvement of ecosystem services, as microbial communities are closely linked with ecosystems functioning. Despite the increasing awareness for the overwhelming bacterial genomic diversity found in different environments, the importance of the microbial gene pool and its ecophysiological significance for the ecosystems is far from being understood. Therefore, our research aims to gain a better understanding of microorganisms’ diversity, evolution and ecology, mainly through the development of high-resolution DNA-based methods to trace microorganisms in environmental samples, and phylogenetic and comparative genomics analyses to uncover the life cycle of microorganisms and understand their population dynamics and epidemiological behaviour. This knowledge, currently missing, is important to characterize microbial communities in complex environments and essential to secure the sustainability of ecosystems. Furthermore, the societal relevance of these studies has been a major concern of our research activities, as shown by the group initiatives to understand the educational constraints and promote scientifically literate citizens.


 Click here to see some of the outreach activities developed by MDE.




Student Supervisions