Speaker of the special group
PD Dr. rer. nat. habil. Stephan Klähn

Molecular Biology of Cyanobacteria
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research GmbH - UFZ
Permoserstraße 15
04318 Leipzig

Deputy Speaker of the Special Group
Dr. Dennis Nürnberg
Biophysics and Biochemistry of Photosynthetic Organisms
Freie Universität Berlin
Arnimallee 14
14195 Berlin

At the 2015 VAAM General Assembly in Marburg, the proposal to establish a new cyanobacteria specialist group was unanimously approved. Cyanobacteria research in Germany previously had no common organisational umbrella, as it was historically fragmented between microbiology and botany. Cyanobacteria are a group of organisms of great biological importance with enormous potential for both basic and applied research, which has become increasingly apparent in recent years. In their more than three billion years of evolution, as the "inventors" of oxygenic photosynthesis, they have contributed significantly to the creation of today's Earth's atmosphere. Even today, oceanic cyanobacteria in particular make an essential contribution to the global carbon cycle and are decisive factors in the climate debate. The long cyanobacterial evolution not only led to an unrivalled physiological/ecological diversity, it was also associated with a morphological diversification that is unique for prokaryotes and includes steps towards true multicellularity. The 2014 Microbe of the Year, Nostoc, is an impressive example of this. Having evolved into chloroplasts via endosymbiosis, cyanobacteria have given rise to the entire plant kingdom, so that the knowledge gained from them today contributes substantially to the understanding of molecular processes in plants. Accordingly, research on cyanobacteria is diverse and covers a wide range of areas, from ecology, evolution and systematics to cell and molecular biology. Recently, cyanobacteria have received increasing attention in green biotechnology, so that a variety of applied aspects, such as natural product and energy production or CO2 management, are also the focus of research, and one fascination of cyanobacteria research is the direct connection between the various aspects of their biology, so that a holistic view of cyanobacteria leads to new research concepts. The explicit aim of the specialist group is to stimulate and organize the interaction between the various fields of cyanobacteriology. The promotion of young scientists will be a focal point. Anyone interested in joining this specialist group should send a short e-mail to

Karl Forchhammer, Tübingen

Admission to special group