Carsten W. Müller

Carsten W. Müller

Associate Professor

I am mainly working on the fate of organic matter (C and N cycling) in soils, from the plant input via roots and decaying litter in rhizosphere and detritusphere over microbial transformations to particulate and mineral-associated soil organic matter. I increasingly focus my work on the formation of soil structure as affected by the organic matter allocation in the rhizosphere, the soil volume directly influenced by root activity. A special interest of work relates to soil functioning in pristine polar environments in the Arctic (C storage in Cryosols) and in Antarctica (nutrient and water availability) and soil structure development under different climate in Chile. In my research I combine quantitative approaches (e.g. density fractionation, elemental and isotopic analyses, lab incubations) with state of the art chemical (GC-MS, NMR spectroscopy) and spectromicroscopic (SEM, NanoSIMS) techniques.

Current research

"RhizoTraits - Rhizosphere traits enhancing yield resilience to drought in modern cropping systems" - research consortium lead by Johanna Pausch (University of Bayreuth) in the frame of the German BMBF call „Plant roots and soil ecosystems: Importance of the rhizosphere for bioeconomy” 2020-2024

"Microbial Engineers – Drivers of Earth Surface Development and Stabilization" - project within the German Priority program 'EarthShape - Earth Surface Shaping by Biota' , 2019-2022

"Elucidating the 3D chemical and physical architecture of soil microstructures by combining spectromicroscopic techniques and developing of novel computational approaches" - cooperation with Carmen Hoeschen of TU Munich and Jean-Nicolas Audinot of the Luxembourg Institute for Science and Technology, 2019-2021

Microbial-mediated soil formation under simulated environmental conditions in maritime Antarctica” - project in the frame of the German DFG priority program SPP1158 (”Antarctic Research with Comparable Investigations in Arctic Sea Ice Areas”), 2016-2020

"Self differentiation of soil aggregation and organic carbon allocation induced by plant and microbial activity in the rhizosphere" - project in the frame of the German DFG priority program SPP 2089 (“Rhizosphere Spatiotemporal Organisation – a Key to Rhizosphere Functions”), , 2018-2020

"The role of clay minerals and metal oxides for organic matter stabilization in highly weathered tropical soils” - joint proposal together with Karsten Kalbitz and Karl-Heinz Feger, Dresden and Robert Mikutta, Halle/Saale, 2018-2020

Rhizosphere as driver of subsoil organic matter distribution and composition” - project in the frame of the German DFG research unit FOR1806 (SUBSOM "The forgotten part of carbon cycling: Soil organic matter storage and turnover in subsoils"),, 2018-2020

"Plant-microbial interactions as drivers of organic matter formation and decomposition" - Collaborator with Jens Arne Subke, Stirling (UK) and Francesca Cotrufo, Fort Collins (USA), 2018-2020

Selected publications

  1. Published

    Particulate organic matter as a functional soil component for persistent soil organic carbon

    Witzgall, K., Vidal, A., Schubert, D. I., Höschen, C., Schweizer, S. A., Buegger, F., Pouteau, V., Chenu, C. & Mueller, Carsten W., 5 Jul 2021, In: Nature Communications. 12, 1, 10 p., 4115.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  2. Published

    Root-induced fungal growth triggers macroaggregation in forest subsoils

    Baumert, V. L., Forstner, S. J., Zethof, J. H. T., Vogel, C., Heitkötter, J., Schulz, S., Kögel-Knabner, I. & Mueller, Carsten W., Jun 2021, In: Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 157, 14 p., 108244.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  3. Published

    Detritivore conversion of litter into faeces accelerates organic matter turnover

    Joly, F., Coq, S., Coulis, M., David, J., Hättenschwiler, S., Mueller, Carsten W., Prater, I. & Subke, J., 11 Nov 2020, In: Communications Biology . 3, 1, 9 p., 660.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  4. Published

    4D Surface Reconstructions to Study Microscale Structures and Functions in Soil Biogeochemistry

    Ost, A. D., Wu, T., Höschen, C., Mueller, Carsten W., Wirtz, T. & Audinot, J., 6 Jul 2021, In: Environmental Science & Technology. 55, 13, p. 9384-9393 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

ID: 238719274