Prof. Dr. Mirjam Perner

FE: Marine Geosystems
Research Division 2: Marine Biogeochemistry

Office: Building 12/R. 334
Phone: +49-431 600 2837
Fax: +49-431 600 2941

GEOMAR | Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
East shore campus
Wischhofstrasse 1-3
D-24148 Kiel/ Germany

Scientific Career

since 01/2018            
W2 Professor for Geomicrobiology at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel

2011 - 12/2017          
Juniorprofessor  (Assistant Professor) “Molecular Biology of Microbial Consortia” at the University of Hamburg (positive evaluation in 2014)

2009 - 2012           
Coordinator of the International Graduate School C1-Chemistry in Resource and Energy Management at the University of Hamburg

2008 - 2011           
Postdoctoral fellow at the University of Hamburg (Microbiology & Biotechnology)

Postdoctoral fellow at the IFM-GEOMAR in Kiel (Marine Microbiology)

12/2003 – 1/2007   
Ph.D. for Biology at the IFM-GEOMAR in Kiel Marine Microbiology): Comparison of Microbial Communities of Ultramafic- and Basalt-Hosted Hydrothermal Systems: Genetic Characterization of 16S rRNA Genes, H2 Oxidation and CO2 Fixation Pathways (supervisor: Prof. Dr. J.F. Imhoff)

Lab Assistant (student contracts) at the Institute for Hydrobiology and Fishery research, University of Hamburg, Germany

Diploma (M. Sc. equivalent) in Zoology, Microbiology, Paleontology, Hydrobiology/Fisheries Science, University of Hamburg, Germany

2002 - 2003            
Diploma Thesis at the Max-Planck-Institute, Bremen: Biogeochemical and Microbiological Characterization of Marine Sediments at Elba – A Contribution to Ecosystematic Analysis of Symbiotic Bacteria from Oligochaetes (supervisor: Prof. Dr. Nicole Dubilier)

2001 - 2002            
Lab Assistant (student contracts) at the Institute for Fisheries Science and at the Institute of Soil Science, University of Hamburg, Germany

1996 - 2002            
Studies of Biology at the
                         •    University of Hamburg, Germany
                         •    University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
                         •    University of Göttingen, Germany

Lab Assistant, Zoology, Univ. of Capetown, South Africa

Lab Assistant, The Swire Institute of Marine Science, Univ. of Hong Kong

Parental leave 2012 / 2016 and 2019

Stipends and Awards

Zonta Award for Excellence

Education Abroad Program and Fulbright Scholarship

Selected oral presentations

Sass, K., Böhnke, S. and Perner, M. (2018)
Iron, sulfide and hydrogen cycling in Kermadec Arc hydrothermal fluids: microbial turnover rates coupled to transcriptomics give insight into biogeochemical processes Goldschmidt, Boston, USA

Böhnke, S. and Perner, M. (2018)
An activity-based metagenomic screen reveals: RubisCO is not the only enzyme that converts ribulose-1,5-bisposphate.
17thInternational Symposium on Microbial Ecology ISME Leipzig, Germany

Perner, M., Böhnke, S., Sass, K. (2018)
Turnover rates coupled to transcriptomics reveal dominant microorganisms responsible for cycling iron, sulfide and hydrogen in Kermadec Arc hydrothermal fluids. VAAM Wolfsburg

Perner, M.
Habitat-specific microbial communities in hydrothermal chimneys: analogues for studying the possible impact of mining seafloor massive sulfide deposits Symposium on Massive Sulfide and Manganese Nodule Exploration and Environmental Studies, BGR Hannover, Germany

Perner, M., Adam, N. & Han, Y. (2017)
The role of hydrothermal venting and deposits for microbial community compositions in the Kairei and Pelagia fields. Symposium on Massive Sulfide and Manganese Nodule Exploration and Environmental Studies, BGR, Hannover, Germany

Böhnke, S. & Perner, M. (2015)
A novel function-based screen suited to seek RubisCOs from metagenomic libraries: improving our understanding of RubisCO regulation and activation mechanisms.
Vereinigung für Allgemeine und Angewandte Mikrobiologie (VAAM), Marburg, Germany

Perner, M. (2015)
Hydrothermal Deep Sea Environments Hold a Huge Potential for Seeking Industrially Relevant Enzymes. Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften (HAW), Hamburg, Germany

Perner, M. (2014)
"Gestresste" Mikroben in extremen Habitaten, Meeting on: Stress auf allen Ebenen, Biozentrum Klein Flottbek, Hamburg, Germany

Perner, M. (2013).
Seeking hydrogen uptake active enzymes from the environment. Centre national recherché scientifique, Montpellier, France

Perner, M. (2013)
Novel hydrogen uptake active enzymes from a 464°C hydrothermal vent. Federation of European Microbiological Societies (5th FEMS Congress), Leipzig, Germany

Böhnke, S. &
Perner, M. (2011)
Autotrophic carbon fixation: Advances in biogeochemical interactions, with function based approaches on a metagenomic level as prospect,CAREX
Conference on Life in Extreme Environments, Dublin, Ireland

Perner, M & LaRoche, J. (2011)
Controls on microbes in an actively venting chimney and in low-temperature hydrothermal fluids, Goldschmidt, Prague, Czech Republic

Koschinsky, A, Sander, S. Klevenz, V &
Perner, M. (2011)
Geo-bio interactions in hydrothermal fluids and their potential role for hydrothermal metal fluxes, Goldschmidt, Prague, Czech Republic

Perner, M., Seifert, R., Strauss, H. & Petersen, S. (2010).
Microbial communities and metabolisms from basalt- and ultramafic-hosted vents. AGU Chapman Conference, Agros, Cyprus

Perner, M. (2008).
From Deep-sea Hydrothermal Vent Habitats: Primary Productivity Based on H2 Oxidation and Diversity of Uptake H2ases. MPI Mülheim, Germany

Perner, M. (2008).
Mikroorganismen an hydrothermalen Tiefseequellen. Universität Münster, Germany

and poster presentations (at national and international meetings, e.g., GRC, AGU, EGU, VAAM)

Reviewing activity

Scientific journals
Reviewer: Nature Communications, ISME Journal, Environmental Microbiology, Applied and Environmental Microbiology,
               Frontiers in Microbiology, FEMS Microbiology Ecology, PLOS ONE, Microbial Ecology, BMC Microbiology,
               International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Aquatic Microbial
Funding agencies

               German Science Foundation (DFG), Germany

               National Science Foundation (NSF), USA

               Schmidt Ocean Institute (Research cruises), USA

               International Ocean Drilling Project (IODP)

Cruise Participations

  • 2016 RV Sonne, Kermadec, Pacific (student participates)
  • 2016 RV Meteor, North MAR (student participated)
  • 2016 RV Pourquoi Pas?, Indian Ocean (student participated)
  • 2009 RV Meteor (M 78/2) (SPP 1144) South-MAR (participated)
  • 2009 RV Maria S. Merian (MSM 10/3) (SPP 1144) North-MAR (participated)
  • 2008 RV L’Atalante (replacement for MSM 06/3) (SPP 1144) South-MAR (participated)
  • 2008 RV L’Atalante (replacement for MSM 06/2)(SPP 1144) North-MAR (participated)
  • 2007 RV Maria S. Merian (MSM 04/3) (SPP 1144) North-MAR (participated)
  • 2006 RV Maria S. Merian (MSM 03/2) (SPP 1144) North-MAR (participated)
  • 2006 RV Meteor (M 64/2) (SPP 1144) North-MAR(participated)
  • 2005 RV Meteor (M 64/1)(SPP 1144) South-MAR (participated)

Publications/ Patents

Peer-reviewed journals and books/ patents

Sass, K, Güllert, S., Streit, W.R.& Perner, M. (2020)
A hydrogen-oxidizing bacterium enriched from the open ocean resembling a symbiont. Environmental Microbiology Reports. DOI: 10.1111/1758-2229.12847

Adam, N., Schlicht, S., Han, Y., Bechelany, M., Bachmann, J. & Perner, M. (2020)
Metagenomics meets Electrochemistry: utilizing the huge catalytic potential from the uncultured microbial majority for energy-storage. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, section Industrial Biotechnology. DOI: 10.3389/fbioe.2020.00567

Sass, K. & Perner, M.* (2020)
Characterization of two hydrogen-oxidizing Hydrogenovibrio strains from the Kermadec volcanic island arc hydrothermal vents. Frontiers in Marine Science.
DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2020.00295

Adam, N., Kriete, C., Garbe-Schönberg, D., Gonnella, G., Krause, S., Schippers, A., Kurtz, S., Schwarz-Schampera, U., Han, Y., Indenbirken, D. & Perner, M.* (2020)
Microbial community compositions and geochemistry of sediments with increasing distance to the hydrothermal vent outlet in the Kairei field, Geomicrobiology Journal.
DOI: 10.1080/01490451.2019.1694107

Salmon, S., Borchert,  MS., Blicher, TH., Streit, W. & Perner, M. (2019)
Heat-Stable Metagenomic Carbonic Anhydrases And Their Use. US Patent App. 16/318,672

Böhnke, S., Sass, K., Gonnella, G., Diehl, A., Kleint, C., Bach, W., Zitoun, R., Koschinsky, A., Indenbirken, D., Sander, S.G., Kurtz, S., & Perner, M.* (2019)
Parameters governing the community structure and element turnover in Kermadec volcanic ash and hydrothermal fluids as monitored by inorganic electron donor consumption, autotrophic CO2 fixation and 16S tags of the transcriptome in incubation experiments. Frontiers in Microbiology.
DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.02296

Böhnke, S. & Perner, M.* (2019)
Seeking active RubisCOs from the currently uncultured microbial majority colonizing deep-sea hydrothermal vent environments. ISME Journal
DOI: 10.1038/s41396-019-0439-3

Gonnella, G., Adam, N. & Perner, M.* (2019)
Horizontal acquisition of hydrogen conversion ability and other habitat adaptations in the Hydrogenovibrio strains SP-41 and XCL-2.
DOI: BMC Genomics 20: 339

Adam, N. & Perner, M.* (2018)
Microbially mediated hydrogen cycling in deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Frontiers in Microbiology. 9 (2873). DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.02873.

Han, Y., Adam, N., Gonnella, G., Schippers, A., Burkhards, L., Kurtz, S., Schwarz-Schampera, U., Franke, U., & Perner, M.* (2018)
Hydrothermal chimneys host habitat-specific microbial communities: analogues for studying the possible impact of mining seafloor massive sulfide deposits. Scientific Reports DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-28613-5

Fredslund, F., Borchert, M.S., Poulsen, J.-C., N, Perner, M., Streit, W. & Leggio, L.L.* (2018)
Structure of a hyperthermostable carbonic anhydrase identified from an active hydrothermal vent chimney. Enzyme and Microbial Technology: DOI:10.1016/j.enzmictec.2018.03.009

Adam, N. & Perner, M.* (2018)
Novel hydrogenases from deep-sea hydrothermal vent metagenomes identified by a recently developed activity-based screen. ISME Journal. DOI:10.1038/s41396-017-0040-6

Adam, N. & Perner, M.* (2017)
Activity-based screening of metagenomic libraries for hydrogenase enzymes. Metagenomics – Methods and Protocols. W.R. Streit & R. Daniel (eds.), Springer. DOI:10.1007/978-1-4939-6691-2_17

Böhnke, S. & Perner, M.* (2017)
Unraveling RubisCO Form I and Form II Regulation in an Uncultured Organism from a Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Vent via Metagenomic and Mutagenesis studies. Frontiers in Microbiology DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.01303.

Gonnella, G., Böhnke, S., Indenbirken, D., Garbe-Schönberg, D., Seifert, R., Mertens, C. Kurtz, S. & Perner, M.* (2016)
Endemic hydrothermal vent species identified in the open ocean seed bank. Nature Microbiology. DOI:10.1038/nmicrobiol.2016.86

Perner, M.* (2016)
Hydrothermale Tiefseequellen: ökologisches Modellsystem und biologische Ressource. BIOspektrum 05/16 (invited)

Schlicht, S., Assaud, L., Hansen, M., Licklederer, M., Bechelany, M., Perner, M. and Bachmann, J.* (2016)
An electrochemically functional layer of hydrogenase extract on an electrode of large and turnable specific surface area. Journal of Materials Chemistry A 4, 6487-6494. DOI:10.1039/C6TA00392C

Han, Y. & Perner, M.* (2016)
Sulfide consumption in Sulfurimonas denitrificans and heterologous expression of its three SQR homologs. Journal of Bacteriology DOI:10.1128/JB.01021-15

Hansen, M. & Perner, M.* (2016)
Hydrogenase gene distribution and H2 consumption ability within the Thiomicrospira lineage. Frontiers in Microbiology. DOI:10.3389/fmicb.2016.00099

Hansen, M. & Perner, M.* (2016)
Reasons for Thiomicrospira’s recalcitrance towards previous attempts to detect its hydrogen consumption ability. Environmental Microbiology Reports DOI:10.1111/1758-2229.12350

Han, Y. & Perner, M.* (2015)
The globally widespread genus Sulfurimonas: versatile energy metabolisms and adaptations to redox clines. Frontiers in Microbiology. DOI:10.3389/fmicb.2015.00989

Böhnke, S. & Perner, M.* (2015)
A function-based screen for seeking RubisCO active clones from metagenomes: novel enzymes influencing RubisCO activity. ISME Journal 9 (3) 735-745. DOI:10.1038/ismej.2014.163

Hansen, M. & Perner, M.* (2015)
A novel hydrogen oxidizer amidst the sulfur oxidizing Thiomicrospira lineage. ISME Journal 9 (3) 696-707. DOI: 10.1038/ismej.2014.173

Gebert, J.* & Perner, M. (2015)
Impact of preferential methane flow through soil on microbial community composition. European Journal of Soil Biology 69, 8-16. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejsobi.2015.03.006

Han, Y. & Perner, M.* (2014)
The role of hydrogen for Sulfurimonas denitrificans’ metabolism. PLOS ONE 9 (8) e106218.
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0106218

Perner, M.*, Gonnella, G.*, Kurtz, S. & LaRoche, J. (2014)
Handling temperature bursts reaching 464°C: different microbial strategies in the Sisters Peak hydrothermal chimney. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 80 (15) 4585-4598 (Spotlight article in the July issue). DOI: 10.1128/aem.01460-14

Perner, M.*, Gonnella, G., Hourdez, S., Böhnke, S., Kurtz, S. & Girguis, P. (2013)
In-situ chemistry and microbial community compositions in five deep-sea hydrothermal fluid samples from Irina II in the Logatchev field, Environmental Microbiology 15 (4) 1551-1561. DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.12038

Perner, M.*, Hansen, M., Seifert, R., Strauss, H., Koschinsky, A., & Petersen, S. (2013)
Linking geology, fluid chemistry and microbial activity of basalt- and ultramafic-hosted deep-sea hydrothermal vent environments, Geobiology 11 (4) 340-355. DOI: 10.1111/gbi.12039

Klevenz, V., Sander, S.*, Perner, M. & Koschinsky, A. (2012).
Amelioration of free copper by hydrothermal vent microbes as a response to high copper concentrations, Chemistry and Ecology. 28 (5) 405-420 (Cover story and photo; key research article) DOI: 10.1080/02757540.2012.666531

Perner, M.*, Hentscher, M., Rychlik, N., Seifert, R., Strauss, H. & Bach, W. (2011).
Driving forces behind the biotope structures in two low-temperature hydrothermal venting sites on the southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Environmental Microbiology Reports 3 (6) 727-737. DOI: 10.1111/j.1758-2229.2011.00291.x

Perner, M.*, Ilmberger, N., Köhler, H.U., Chow, J., and Streit, W.R.* (2011)
Emerging fields in functional metagenomics and its industrial relevance - overcoming limitations and redirecting the search for novel biocatalysts, p. 483-498. In Handbook of Molecular Microbial Ecology II: Metagenomics in Different Habitats de Bruijn, F.J. (ed). John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ. DOI: 10.1002/9781118010549.ch47

Dekov, V. M.*, Petersen, S., Garbe-Schönberg, C. D., Kamenov, G. D., Perner, M., Kuzmann, E. & Schmidt, M. (2010).
Fe-Si-oxyhydroxide deposits at a slow-spreading centre with thickened oceanic crust: the Lilliput hydrothermal field (9°33´S, Mid-Atlantic Ridge). Chemical Geology 278 (3-4) 186-200. DOI: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2010.09.012

Perner, M.*, Petersen, J. M., Zielinski, F., Gennerich, H. H. & Seifert, R. (2010).
Geochemical constraints on the diversity and activity of H2-oxidizing bacteria and archaea in diffuse hydrothermal fluids from a basalt- and an ultramafic-hosted vent. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 74 (1) 55-71. DOI: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2010.00940.x

Perner, M.*, Bach, W., Koschinsky, A., Garbe-Schönberg, D., Streit, W. R. & Strauss, H. (2009).
Short-term temporal microbial and physico-chemical variability in low-temperature hydrothermal fluids near 5°S on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Environmental Microbiology 11 (10) 2526-2541. DOI: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2009.01978.x

Perner, M., Kuever, J., Seifert, R., Pape, T., Koschinsky, A., Schmidt, K., Strauss, H. & Imhoff, J.F.* (2007).
The influence of ultramafic rocks on microbial communities at the Logatchev hydrothermal field, located 15°N on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 61 (1), 97-109. DOI: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2007.00325.x

Perner, M., Seifert, R., Weber, S., Koschinsky, A., Schmidt, K., Strauss, H., Peters, M., Haase, K. & Imhoff, J.F.* (2007).
Microbial CO2 fixation and sulfur cycling associated with low-temperature emissions at the Lilliput hydrothermal field, southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge (9°S). Environmental Microbiology, 9 (5), 1186-1201. DOI: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2007.01241.x

Haase, K. M.*, Petersen, S., Koschinsky, A., Seifert, R., Devey, C. W., Dubilier, N., Fretzdorff, S., Garbe-Schönberg, D., German, C. R., Giere, O., Keir, R., Kuever, J., Lackschewitz, K. S., Mawick, J., Marbler, H., Melchert, B., Mertens, C., Ostertag-Henning, C., Paulick, H., Perner, M., Peters, M., Sander, S., Schmale, O., Shank, T.M., Stecher, J., Stöber, U., Strauss, H., Süling, J., Walter, M., Warmuth, M., Weber, S., Westernströer, U., Yoerger, D., Zielinski, F. (2007).
Young volcanism and related hydrothermal activity at 5°S on the slow-spreading southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 8, Q11002, DOI: 10.1029/2006GC001509
*corresponding author

Other Publications

Burger, P. & Perner, M. (2010).
Potential of solar-driven hydrogen-production (Potenziale der solaren Wasserstofferzeugung). Survey by order of the hydrogen association Hamburg. e. V. (Studie im Auftrag der Wasserstoff-Gesellschaft Hamburg e.V).