Dr. Christina Weißbecker

Contact / Address

Dr. Christina Weißbecker

Department of Soil Ecology

Christina Weißbecker

Previous postdoc projects

With the end of February 2021 I have left the department of soil ecology to pursue another professional path. The work on the DiscoMole project is continued by Dr Qicheng Bei since June 2021.

I am fascinated by the biodiversity and interaction of soil microbial communties and their effects on ecosystem functioning. In the DiSco Mole project "Diversity and scenario modelling of molecular markers of plant pathogens in plant, litter and soil metagenomes” I will analyze the correlation of climate change and land-use with the potential pressure of plant pathogens in soils. We will determine the current global situation and  predict the occurrence of plant pathogens for future climate scenarios. I can rely on a treasure of metagnomic and amplicon sequencing data that was generated by the international soil biogeography consortium iSBio in a global soil sampling campaign. In our metagnomic analysis we will test potential plant pathogenic molecular markers for a broad range of microbial soil organisms and identify suitable markers for monitoring purposes. Tentative conclusions on the relationship of climate change and land-use on the plant pathogenic pressure in our soils which are based on the global observative data will be validated by additional experimental studies. DiSco Mole is a cooperation with the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig iDiv .     

DiSco Mole logo

I apply amplicon high-throughput sequencing of marker genes to characterize the composition of microbial communities. Sequencing technologies and bioinformatic tools evolve rapidly and my work also comprises the optimization of the data processing and the evaluation and implementation of new bioinformatic tools. The high performance computer cluster "EVE" at the UFZ facilitates the work with the vast amounts of generated sequencing data.

During my participation in the GFBio project I was involved in the data management according to the FAIR principles. For my publication projects I aim to follow a good documentation of my analyses and also publish associated data, metadata, bioinformatic and statistic scripts. The manuscripts are published open acess.

PhD project

My PhD thesis "Biodiversity and assembly processes of soil fungal communities in Chinese subtropical forests with variable tree diversity" was part of the research project Biodiversity and Ecosystem-Functioning Experiment China ( BEF-China ). The project evolved to TreeDì TreeDì


Scientific career

December 2020 - February 2021 Scientist
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research Halle - UFZ, Department of Soil Ecology.
German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv)

DiSco Mole project: Impact of climate change and land-use on the occurrence of plant pathogens in soils. Identification of suitable molecular markers for metagenomic datasets.
2018 - 2020 Scientist
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research Halle - UFZ, Department of Soil Ecology.

GFBIO Project: Bioinformatic processing and development of a pipeline for the evaluation of amplicon sequencing data produced by a variety of sequencing technologies.

2011 - 2020 PhD student at the Department of Soil Ecology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research Halle - UFZ.

PhD thesis: "Biodiversity and assembly processes of soil fungal communities in Chinese subtropical forests with variable tree diversity".
2005 - 2011 Dipl.-Ing. Biotechnology, Technische Universität Berlin. Focus: Microbiology and Molecular analysis.

Diploma thesis: "Metagenomic analysis of Dehalococcoides-related Chloroflexi enriched from marine sediments" (Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research -UFZ, Department of Isotope Biogeochemistry, Leipzig).

  • Annual Conference of the Association for General and Applied Microbiology (VAAM), 17.03-20.03.2019, Mainz       
  • International Conference on Ecological Informatics (10. ICEI), 24.09-28.09.2018, Jena
  • Ecology of Soil Microorganisms (2. ESM), 29.11- 03.12.2015, Prag
  • International Conference on Mycorrhiza (7. ICOM), 6-11 January 2013, New Delhi
  • Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland (42. GfÖ), 10 -14 September 2012, Lüneburg
  • Weißbecker, C., B. Schnabel, A. Heintz-Buschart. (2020): Dadasnake, a Snakemake implementation of DADA2 to process amplicon sequencing data for microbial ecology. GigaScience 9(12); doi: 10.1093/gigascience/giaa135
  • Weißbecker, C., A. Heintz-Buschart, H. Bruelheide, F. Buscot, T. Wubet. (2019): Linking Soil Fungal Generality to Tree Richness in Young Subtropical Chinese Forests. Microorganisms. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms7110547
  • Weißbecker, C., T. Wubet, G. Lentendu, P. Kühn, T. Scholten, H. Bruelheide, F. Buscot. (2018): Experimental evidence of functional group-dependent
    effects of tree diversity on soil fungi in subtropical forests. Frontiers in Microbiology. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.02312
  • Trogisch, S., A. Schuldt, J. Bauhus, J.A. Blum, S. Both, F. Buscot, N. Castro-Izaguirre, D. Chesters, W. Durka, D. Eichenberg, A. Erfmeier, M. Fischer, C. Geißler, M.S. Germany, P. Goebes, J.Gutknecht, C.Z. Hahn, S. Haider, W. Härdtle, J.-S. He, A. Hector, L. Hönig, Y. Huang, A.-M. Klein, P. Kühn, M. Kunz, K.N. Leppert, Y. Li, X. Liu, P. A. Niklaus, Z. Pei, K.A. Pietsch, R. Prinz, T. Proß, M. Scherer-Lorenzen, K. Schmidt, T. Scholten, S. Seitz, Z. Song, M. Staab, G. von Oheimb, C. Weißbecker, E. Welk, C. Wirth, T. Wubet, B. Yang, X. Yang, C.-D Zhu, B. Schmid, K. Ma, H. Bruelheide. (2017). Toward a methodical framework for comprehensively assessing forest multifunctionality. Ecology and Evolution. doi: 10.1002/ece3.3488
  • Weißbecker, C., F. Buscot,T. Wubet.(2017). Preservation of nucleic acids by freeze-drying for next generation sequencing analyses of soil microbial communities. Journal of Plant Ecology. doi: 10.1093/jpe/rtw042