It can be argued that a human is ultimately the sum of his experiences.

-Benjamin Sisko, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, “Emissary”

I am a geneticist through and through. I work as a PhD student in the “ITZ: Ecology and Evolution”.  Contrary to my colleagues I am neither working on Placozoa nor Insects but on fluffy sheeps. My project is a cooperation between the ITZ (Prof. Dr. Schierwater) and the Institute of Animal Physiology (Prof. Dr. Gerhard Breves). As inner values are most important to me I am investigating the influence of different diets on the microbial flora within sheep rumen. 

1 rumen  2 rumen  3 rumen  4 rumen

 Fig. 1-4:  Sampling of rumen food particles and fluid from fistulated sheep.

While DNA barcoding has become quite popular around the world, we were not satisfied by the enforced use of distances as a means to classify species. That is why we, in cooperation with the American Museum of Natural History (New York) developed character-based barcoding. Character-based barcoding works with diagnostic characters and character combinations which permits a clear, unambiguous classification. 

Project title:

Investigation on the influence of different diets on the microbial flora within sheep rumen by character-based barcoding


Investigation on the influence of different diets on the microbial flora within sheep rumen. The influence of the diet composition on the microbial flora is studied by analyzing the rumen food particles and fluid of quadruplet sheep. A combination of different genes (16S rDNA, rpoB, mcrA) were amplified by PCR and sequenced by NGS 454.

First steps in establishing a character-based DNA barcoding for microorganisms. Character-based DNA barcoding is an efficient tool for the characterization of species. Most rumen microorganisms are still unknown and this tool will provide insights in their relationships and identity.


Selected Publications:

Paknia O, Bergmann T, Hadrys H. Some ‘ant’swers: Application of a layered barcode approach to problems in ant taxonomy. MER. Received 27 October 2014; revision received 3 February 2015; accepted 18 February 2015. doi: 10.1111/1755-0998.12395

Bergmann T, Rach J, Damm S, DeSalle R, Schierwater B and Hadrys H. The potential of distance-based thresholds and character-based DNA barcoding for defining problematic taxonomic entities by CO1 and ND1. MER. Received 6 July 2012; accepted 9 April 2013.

Reid BN, Le M, McCord WP, Iverson JB, Georges A, Bergmann T, Amato G, DeSalle R, Naro-Maciel E. Comparing and combining distance-based and character-based approaches for barcoding Turtles. MER. 2011 Jun 2. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-0998.2011.03032.x.

Bergmann T, Hadrys H, Breves G, Schierwater B. Character-based DNA barcoding: a superior tool for species classification. Berl Munch Tierarztl Wochenschr. 2009 Nov-Dec; 122(11-12):446-50.


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