Dr. Marie Uksa


Dr. Marie Uksa

Department of Applied Microbial Ecology
Working Group Bioavailability
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany

Phone +49 341 6025-1366

Marie Uksa

Research topic

Soil microbial communities and their functional traits are the key for understanding nutrient cycling in soils and the fate of pollutants in our environment. It is therefore important to investigate the distribution of microbes and their activities on different spatial scales. While nutrient accessability drive carbon turnover in microbial hotspots such as the rhizosphere and detritusphere, soil properties highly determine microbial performance on the field scale.

Upscaling of microbial turnover processes, however, is still a challenge in soil microbial ecology. In my current project 'ProScale' I am interested in predicting microbial activities and pesticide degradation potential in arable soils on the field scale using proximal and remote sensing techniques, e.g. multispectral imaging from UAVs.

ProScale is part of the FACE project ('Fate and management of chemicals in ecosystems') within the Integration Platform Tapping Nature's Potential.

CV / Scientific Career

since 04/2021

Postdoc at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Department of Applied Microbial Ecology, Research Group Bioavailability

2016 - 2019

Research associate at the University of Hohenheim, Institute of Soil Science and Land Evaluation, Fg. Soil Biology

Young-Investigator Group: 'SoilReg - Microbial regulation of soil functions in agro-ecosystems'

2012 - 2015

PhD student at Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health, Research Unit Comparative Microbiome Analysis, and Technische Universiät München (TUM)

DFG - FOR 1320: 'Crop sequence and nutrient acquisition from the subsoil'

Dissertation: 'Spatial distribution and functional traits of microbial communities in arable subsoils'


Research associate at University of Jena, Institute of Microbiology

DFG - FOR 1530: 'Anaerobic biological dehalogenation: organisms, biochemistry, and (eco-)physiology'

2005 - 2011

Diploma student 'Biology', Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena


Hallama, M., Pekrun, C., Pilz, S., Jarosch, K.A., Frac, M., Uksa, M., Marhan, S., and Kandeler, E. (2021). Interactions between cover crops and soil microorganisms increase phosphorus availability in conservation agriculture. Plant and Soil 463, 307–328. doi:10.1007/s11104-021-04897-x.

Wirsching, J., Pagel, H., Ditterich, F., Uksa, M., Werneburg, M., Zwiener, C., Berner, D., Kandeler, E., and Poll, C. (2020). Biodegradation of pesticides at the limit: Kinetics and microbial substrate use at low concentrations. Front. Microbiol. 11, Article 2107, doi:10.3389/fmicb.2020.02107.

Uksa, M., Buegger, F., Gschwendtner, S., Lueders, T., Kublik, S., Kautz, T., et al. (2017). Bacteria utilizing plant‐derived carbon in the rhizosphere of Triticum aestivum change in different depths of an arable soil. Environ. Microbiol. Rep. 9, 729–741. doi:10.1111/1758‐2229.12588.

Uksa, M., Schloter, M., Endesfelder, D., Kublik, S., Engel, M., Kautz, T., et al. (2015). Prokaryotes in subsoil ‐ evidence for a strong spatial separation of different phyla by analysing co‐occurrence networks. Front. Microbiol. 6, Article 1269. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2015.01269.

Uksa, M., Schloter, M., Kautz, T., Athmann, M., Köpke, U., and Fischer, D. (2015). Spatial variability of hydrolytic and oxidative potential enzyme activities in different subsoil compartments. Biol. Fertil. Soils 51, 517–521. doi:10.1007/s00374‐015‐0992‐5.

Uksa, M., Fischer, D., Welzl, G., Kautz, T., Köpke, U., and Schloter, M. (2014). Community structure of prokaryotes and their functional potential in subsoils is more affected by spatial heterogeneity than by temporal variations. Soil Biol. Biochem. 75, 197–201. doi:10.1016/j.soilbio.2014.04.018.

Fischer, D., Uksa, M., Tischler, W., Kautz, T., Köpke, U., and Schloter, M. (2013). Abundance of ammonia oxidizing microbes and denitrifiers in different soil horizons of an agricultural soil in relation to the cultivated crops. Biol. Fertil. Soils 49, 1243–1246. doi:10.1007/s00374‐013‐0812‐8.