Senior Scientist Group

Molecular Biodiversity Dynamics Group

We are developing and adapting molecular approaches to study the structure, composition and functions of hard-to-observe organisms. An important component of the group’s work is to generate long community time series data with ancient environmental DNA preserved in lake sediments, and to interpret these. We seek answers to important questions in ecology, such as losses of intraspecific genetic diversity, effects of the Great Acceleration on taxonomically diverse communities, impact of land use intensification on the functioning of soil invertebrate communities, or effects of global warming on microscopic fungal communities.

I find it important to educate young colleagues about obtaining molecular biodiversity data. This is probably the most efficient through hands-on experience, and field courses are are excellent platforms for this. The BiodivGenomics Field Course initiated with Markus Pfenninger and Barbara Feldmeyer was first organized between 20-30. July 2019 in the Eastern Carpathians of Romania, and I am planning to continue it in the future.


Selected Publications

Bálint, M., Pfenninger, M., Grossart, H.-P., Taberlet, P., Vellend, M., Leibold, M. A., Englund, G., Bowler, D. (2018). Environmental DNA Time Series in Ecology. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 33(12), 945–957.

Bálint, M., Nowak, C., Márton, O., Pauls, S. U., Wittwer, C., Aramayo, J. L., … Jansen, M. (2018). Accuracy, limitations and cost efficiency of eDNA-based community survey in tropical frogs. Molecular Ecology Resources, 18(6), 1415–1426.

Bálint, M., Bahram, M., Eren, A.M., Faust, K., Fuhrman, J.A., Lindahl, B., O’Hara, R.B., Öpik, M., Sogin, M.L., Unterseher, M., Tedersoo, L. (2016): Millions of reads, thousands of taxa: microbial community structure and associations analyzed via marker genes. FEMS Microbiology Reviews 40: 686–700.

Bálint, M., L. Bartha, B., O’Hara, R.B., Matthew S Olson, Jürgen Otte, Markus Pfenninger, Amanda L Robertson, Peter Tiffin, Imke Schmitt (2015): Relocation, high-latitude warming and host genetic identity shape the foliar fungal microbiome of poplars. Molecular Ecology 24: 235-248.

Bálint, M., Domisch, S., Engelhardt, C. H. M., Haase, P., Lehrian, S., Sauer, J., Theissinger, K., Pauls, S. U. & Nowak, C. (2011): Crypticbiodiversity loss linked to global climate change. Nature Climate Change, 1: 313–318.