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Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center

Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center

Dr. Willm Martens-Habbena

Assistant Professor

Microbial Ecology

My research is at the intersection of microbiology, molecular biology and biogeochemistry. The primary goal is to understand how microorganisms drive and connect biogeochemical cycles on earth and how we can harness their power to the benefit of humanity and the environment.  My current research aims to understand how global change and sea level rise affect local communities and the environment in South Florida and how microbiology can help to mitigate these challenges.

  • Research


    My research combines molecular microbiology, microbial physiology and biogeochemistry to advance our understanding of microorganisms in complex ecosystems. I use Next-Generation Sequencing approaches and bioinformatics tools to interrogate patterns of diversity, abundance and activity of microorganisms in natural and engineered systems. My research further aims to experimentally underpin ecological interactions of microorganisms in laboratory and field experiments.

    The overarching questions guiding my research are as follows:

    • Which interactions occur between microorganisms and other trophic guilds and how do those interactions influence ecosystem function?
    • Which forces do global change and human activity impose on selection of phylogenetic and metabolic diversity in marine and terrestrial habitats?
    • How do these forces reflect on community metabolism and ecosystem performance?
    • How can we harness the microbial powers to conserve ecosystem function and benefit humanity?

    If you are interested in gaining research experience, or would like to know more about my research, feel free to contact me any time.


  • Teaching


    My teaching portfolio includes undergraduate and graduate-level classes in Environmental Microbiology, as well as research opportunities for undergraduate students. If you are undergraduate student interested in conducting research feel free to contact me by email.

  • Lab Team

    Lab Team Information



3205 College Avenue

Davie, FL 33314

Phone: 954-577-6372 


  • Education
    • Ph.D. Microbiology, University of Oldenburg, Germany, 2006
    • Diplom (Master-equivalent) Biology, University of Oldenburg, 2001
  • Publications