Dr. rer. nat. Stefanie Schulz (née Töwe)
Head of the working group “Soil Microbiome”

Phone: +49 89 3187-3054
Fax: +49 89 3187-3376
Building/Room: 43a / 009



Dr. Stefanie Schulz is a research scientist in the field of microbiology with a special focus on the soil environment. She is advanced in the application of classical microbiological tools as well as in the use of high end molecular techniques to describe microbial communities in terms of abundance, activity and diversity. Her main research aim is to investigate microbially driven soil formation and nutrient turnover in different habitats.


  • Since 2020: Review Editor "Frontiers-Terrestrial Microbiology"
                       Editorial Board Member "ISME communications"
  • 2018: Parental leave
  • 2015-2017: DFG-Young researcher academy “Agricultural ecosystem research: Soil resources and plant production”
  • Since 2015: Head of the working group “Soil Microbiome”
  • 2012 – 2015: Postdoctoral researcher, Research Unit Environmental Genomics, Helmholtz Zentrum München.
  • 2014: Parental leave
  • 2011 – 2012: Postdoctoral researcher, Chair of Soil Ecology, Technical University Munich, CRC/TRR 38
  • 2007 – 2011: PhD student, Chair of Soil Ecology, Technical University Munich, CRC/TRR 38
  • Since 2006 Member of Association for General and Applied Microbiology


Grafe M, Kurth JK, Panten K, Raj AD, Baum C, Zimmer D, Leinweber P, Schloter M, Schulz S (2021) Effects of different innovative bone char based P fertilizers on bacteria catalyzing P turnover in agricultural soils. Agr Ecosyst Environ 314: 107419. doi:

Duffner C, Holzapfel S, Wunderlich A, Einsiedl F, Schloter M, Schulz S (2021) Dechloromonas and close relatives prevail hydrogenotrophic denitrification in stimulated microcosms with oxic aquifer material. FEMS Microbiol Ecol. doi: 10.1093/femsec/fiab004

Chiba A, Uchida Y, Kublik S, Vestergaard G, Buegger F, Schloter M, Schulz S (2021) Soil Bacterial Diversity Is Positively Correlated with Decomposition Rates during Early Phases of Maize Litter Decomposition. Microorganisms 9: 357.

Vuko M, Cania B, Vogel C, Kublik S, Schloter M & Schulz S (2020) Shifts in reclamation management strategies shape the role of exopolysaccharide and lipopolysaccharide-producing bacteria during soil formation. Microbial Biotechnology 13: 584-598.

Kurth JK, Albrecht A, Karsten U, Glaser K, Schloter S & Schulz S (2020) Correlation of the abundance of bacteria catalyzing phosphorus and nitrogen turnover in biological soil crusts of temperate forests of Germany. Biol Fert Soils. doi: 10.1007/s00374-020-01515-3

Cania B, Vestergaard G, Kublik S, Köhne JM, Fischer T, Albert A, Winkler B, Schloter M & Schulz S (2020) Biological Soil Crusts from Different Soil Substrates Harbor Distinct Bacterial Groups with the Potential to Produce Exopolysaccharides and Lipopolysaccharides. Microb Ecol 79: 326-341.

Cania B, Vestergaard G, Suhadolc M, Mihelič R, Krauss M, Fliessbach A, Mäder P, Szumełda A, Schloter M & Schulz S (2020) Site-Specific Conditions Change the Response of Bacterial Producers of Soil Structure-Stabilizing Agents Such as Exopolysaccharides and Lipopolysaccharides to Tillage Intensity. Front Microbio 11.

Cania B, Vestergaard G, Krauss M, Fliessbach A, Schloter M & Schulz S (2019) A long-term field experiment demonstrates the influence of tillage on the bacterial potential to produce soil structure-stabilizing agents such as exopolysaccharides and lipopolysaccharides. Environmental Microbiome 14: 1.

Grafe M, Goers M, von Tucher S, Baum C, Zimmer D, Leinweber P, Vestergaard G, Kublik S, Schloter M & Schulz S (2018) Bacterial potentials for uptake, solubilization and mineralization of extracellular phosphorus in agricultural soils are highly stable under different fertilization regimes. Environ Microbial Rep 10: 320-327.

Wasserstrom H, Kublik S, Wasserstrom R, Schulz S, Schloter M, Steinberger Y (2017): Bacterial community composition in costal dunes of the Mediterranean along a gradient from the sea shore to the inland. Scientific Reports 7: 40266.

Schöler A, Jacquiod S, Vestergaard G, Schulz S, Schloter M (2017): Analysis of soil microbial communities based on amplicon sequencing of marker genes. Biol Fert Soils 53: 485-489.

Vestergaard G, Schulz S, Schöler A, Schloter M (2017): Making big data smart—how to use metagenomics to understand soil quality. Biol Fert Soils 53: 479-484.

Stempfhuber B, Richter-Heitmann T, Bienek L, Schöning I, Schrumpf M, Friedrich M, Schulz S, Schloter M (2017): Soil pH and plant diversity drive co-occurrence patterns of ammonia and nitrite oxidizer in soils from forest ecosystems. Biology and Fertility of Soils: 1-10.

Schulz S, Kölbl A, Ebli M, Buegger F, Schloter M, Fiedler S (2017): Field-scale pattern of denitrifying microorganisms and N2O emission rates indicate a high potential for complete denitrification in an agriculturally used organic soil. Microbial Ecology: 1-6.

Vestergaard G, Schulz S, Schöler A, Schloter M (2017): Making big data smart—how to use metagenomics to understand soil quality. Biology and Fertility of Soils 53: 479-484.

Bergkemper F, Bünemann EK, Hauenstein S, Heuck C, Kandeler E, Krüger J, Marhan S, Mészáros É, Nassal D, Nassal P, Oelmann Y, Pistocchi C, Schloter M, Spohn M, Talkner U, Zederer DP, Schulz S (2016): An inter-laboratory comparison of gaseous and liquid fumigation based methods for measuring microbial phosphorus (Pmic) in forest soils with differing P stocks. J Microbiol Methods 128: 66-68.

Bergkemper F, Kublik S, Lang F, Krüger J, Vestergaard G, Schloter M, Schulz S (2016): Novel oligonucleotide primers reveal a high diversity of microbes which drive phosphorous turnover in soil. Journal of Microbiological Methods 125: 91-97.

Bergkemper F, Schöler A, Engel M, Lang F, Krüger J, Schloter M, Schulz S (2016): Phosphorus depletion in forest soils shapes bacterial communities towards phosphorus recycling systems. Environmental Microbiology 18: 1988-2000.

Bergkemper F, Welzl G, Lang F, Krüger J, Schloter M, Schulz S (2016): The importance of C, N and P as driver for bacterial community structure in German beech dominated forest soils. J Plant Nutr Soil Sci 179: 472-480.

Schaeffer A, Amelung W, Hollert H, Kaestner M, Kandeler E, Kruse J, Miltner A, Ottermanns R, Pagel H, Peth S, Poll C, Rambold G, Schloter M, Schulz S, Streck T, Roß-Nickoll M (2016): The impact of chemical pollution on the resilience of soils under multiple stresses: A conceptual framework for future research. Science of The Total Environment 568: 1076-1085.

Ehrlich, R.; Schulz, S; Schloter, M; Steinberger, Y. (2015): Effect of slope orientation on microbial community composition in different particle size fractions from soils obtained from desert ecosystems. Biol Fertil Soils 51: 507-510.

Steinbach, A.; Schulz, S.; Giebler, J.; Schulz, S.; Pronk, G. J.; Kogel-Knabner, I.; Harms, H.; Wick, L. Y.; Schloter, M. (2014): Clay minerals and metal oxides strongly influence the structure of alkane-degrading microbial communities during soil maturation. ISME J: doi:10.1038/ismej.2014.243.

Vogel, C.; Mueller, C. W.; Hoeschen, C.; Buegger, F.; Heister, K.; Schulz, S.; Schloter, M.; Koegel-Knabner, I. (2014): Submicron structures provide preferential spots for carbon and nitrogen sequestration in soils. Nat commun 5: doi:10.1038/ncomms3947

Schulz, S.; Brankatschk, R.; Duemig, A.; Koegel-Knabner, I.; Schloter, M.; Zeyer, J. (2013) The role of microorganisms at different stages of ecosystem development for soil formation. Biogeosciences 10 (6): 3983-3996.

Schulz, S.; Engel, M.; Fischer, D.; Buegger, F.; Elmer, M.; Welzl, G.; Schloter, M. (2013) Diversity pattern of nitrogen fixing microbes in nodules of Trifolium arvense (L.) at different initial stages of ecosystem development. Biogeosciences 10 (2): 1183-1192.

Ollivier, J; Töwe, S.; Bannert, A.; Hai, B.; Kastl, E.; Meyer, A.; Su, M.; Kleineidam, K.; Schloter, M. (2011): Nitrogen turnover and global change. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 78: 3-16.

Brankatschk, R.; Töwe, S.; Kleineidam, K.; Schloter, M.; Zeyer, J. (2011): Abundances and potential activities of nitrogen cycling microbial communities along a chronosequence of a glacier forefield. The ISME Journal 5: 1025-1037.

Töwe, S. Wallisch, S. Bannert, A.; Fischer, D.; Hai, B.; Haesler, F.; Kleineidam, K.; Schloter, M. (2011): Improved protocol for the simultaneous extraction and column-based separation of DNA and RNA from different soils. Journal of Microbiological Methods 84: 406-412.

Töwe, S.; Kleineidam, K.; Schloter, M. (2010): Differences in amplification efficiency of standard curves in quantitative real-time PCR assays and consequences for gene quantification in environmental samples. Journal of Microbiological Methods 82: 338-341.

Töwe, S.; Albert, A.; Kleineidam, K.; Brankatschk, R.; Dümig, A.; Welzl, G.; Munch, J.C.; Zeyer, J.; Schloter, M. (2010): Abundance of microbes involved in nitrogen transformation in the rhizosphere of Leucanthemopsis alpina (L.) Heywood grown in soils from different sites of the Damma glacier forefield. Microbial Ecology 60: 762–770.

Leelakriangsak, M.; Huyen, N. T. T.; Töwe, S.; van Duy, N.; Becher, D.; Hecker, M.; Antelmann, H.; Zuber, P. (2008): Regulation of quinone detoxification by the thiol stress sensing DUF24/MarR-like repressor, YodB in Bacillus subtilis. Molecular Microbiology 67: 1108-1124.

Antelmann H.; Töwe, S.; Albrecht, D.; Hecker, M. (2007): The phosphorus source phytate changes the composition of the cell wall proteome in Bacillus subtilis. Journal of Proteome Research 6: 897-90.

Töwe, S.; Leelakriangsak, M.; Kobayashi, K.; Van Duy, N.; Hecker, M.; Zuber, P.; Antelmann, H. (2007): The MarR-type repressor MhqR (YkvE) regulates multiple dioxygenases/glyoxalases and an azoreductase which confer resistance to 2-methylhydroquinone and catechol in Bacillus subtilis. Molecular Microbiology 66: 40-54.



SPP 1374: Land use as driver for structure and function of biological soil crusts III (since 2020)

FOR 5000: Plant microbiomes and biotic stress (since 2020)

SPP1685: Linking carbon and nitrogen availability to microbial phosphorous turnover in different forest soils (since 2016)


SPP 1374: Land use intensity as a driver for abundance, diversity and activity of nitrifying microbes in soils from forest ecosystems (NitFOR) (2015-2018)

DFG-Nachwuchsakademie: Development of biological soil crusts under different management practices (2016-2018)