Aquatic microbes shaped the conditions for life on earth as we know it! With oceans and lakes changing due to anthropogenic activities, understanding the complex microbial interaction networks that drive biogeochemical cycles is a prerequisite for predicting what the future might bring. My work focusses on eukaryotic microbes, their interactions, and strategies of resource acquisition.
Half 'plant' - half 'animal'
I am particularly fascinated by organisms that combine a ‘plant-like’ with an ‘animal-like’ lifestyle. By both photosynthesizing and feeding on other microbes these mixotrophs assume the roles of both primary producers and consumers, raising many questions about their physiology as well as consequences for carbon and nutrient cycling.
Research Gate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Susanne_Wilken2
20. Wilken S, Choi CJ, Worden AZ. (2019) Contrasting mixotrophic lifestyles reveal different ecological niches in two closely related marine protists. Journal of Phycology. in press
19. Wilken S, Yung CM, Hamilton M, Hoadley K, Nzongo J, Eckmann C, Corrochano Luque M, Poirier C, Worden AZ. (2019) The need to account for cell biology in characterizing predatory mixotrophs in aquatic environments. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2019.0090
18. Guo J, Wilken S, Jimenez V, Choi CJ, Ansong C, Dannebaum R, Sudek L, Milner DS, Bachy C, Nahas Reistetter E, Elrod VA, Klimov D, Purvine SO, Wei CL, Kunde-Ramamoorthy G, Richards TA, Goodenough U, Smith RD, Callister SJ, Worden AZ. (2018) Specialized proteomic responses and an ancient photoprotection mechanism sustain marine green algal growth during phosphate limitation. Nature Microbiology 3: 781-790.
17. Orsi W, Wilken S, del Campo J, Heger T, Richards TA, Keeling P, Worden AZ, Santoro AE. (2018) Identifying protist consumers of photosynthetic picoeukaryotes in the surface ocean using stable isotope probing. Environmental Microbiology 20: 815-827.
16. Wilken S, Soares MPM, Urrutia-Cordero P, Ratcovitch J, Ekvall MK, Van Donk E, Hansson LA. (2018) Primary producers or consumers? Increasing phytoplankton bacterivory along a gradient of lake warming and browning. Limnology and Oceanography 63: S142-S155.
15. Urrutia-Cordero P, Ekvall MK, Ratcovich J, Soares MPM, Wilken S, Zhang H, Hansson LA. (2017) Phytoplankton diversity loss along a gradient of future warming and brownification in freshwater mesocosms. Freshwater Biology 62: 1869-1878.
14. Worden AZ, Wilken S. (2016) A plankton bloom shifts as the ocean warms. Science 354: 287-288.
13. Orsi WD, Smith JM, Liu S, Liu Z, Sakamoto CM, Wilken S, Poirier C, Richards TA, Keeling PJ, Worden AZ, Santoro AE. (2016) Highly diverse microbial communities underlie marine biogeochemical cycling of dissolved protein. ISME Journal 10: 2158-2173.
12. Mitra A, Flynn KJ, Tillmann U, Raven JA, Caron D, Stoecker DK, Not F, Hansen PJ, Hallegraeff G, Sanders R, Wilken S, McManus G, Johnson M, Pitta P, Våge S, Berge T, Calbet A, Thingstad F, Jeong HJ, Burkholder JA, Glibert PM, Granéli E, Lundgren V. (2016) Defining planktonic protist functional groups on mechanisms for energy and nutrient acquisition: incorporation of diverse mixotrophic strategies. Protist 167: 106-120.
11. Worden AZ, Follows MJ, Giovannoni SJ, Wilken S, Zimmerman A, Keeling PJ. (2015) Rethinking the marine carbon cycle: factoring in the multifarious lifestyles of microbes. Science 347: 735.
10. Sassenhagen I, Wilken S, Godhe A, Rengefors K. (2015) Phenotypic plasticity and differentiation in an invasive freshwater microalga. Harmful Algae 41: 38-45.
9. Wilken S, Schuurmans JM, Matthijs HCP. (2014) Do mixotrophs grow as photoheterotrophs? Photophysiological adaptations in the chrysophyte Ochromonas danica after feeding. New Phytologist 204: 882-889.
8. McRose D, Guo J, Monier A, Sudek S, Wilken S, Yan S, Mock T, Archibald JM, Begley TP, Reyes-Prieto A, Worden AZ. (2014) Alternatives to Vitamin B1 uptake revealed with discovery of riboswitches in multiple marine unicellular eukaryotes. ISME Journal 8: 2517-2529.
7. Wilken S, Verspagen JMH, Naus-Wiezer S, Van Donk E, and Huisman J. (2014) Biological control of harmful cyanobacteria by mixotrophic predators: an experimental test of intraguild predation theory. Ecological Applications 24: 1235-1249.
6. Wilken S, Verspagen JMH, Naus-Wiezer S, Van Donk E, and Huisman J. (2014) Experimental comparison of predator-prey interactions with and without intraguild predation by manipulation of the nitrogen source. Oikos 123: 423-432.
5. Mitra A, Flynn KJ, Burkholder J, Berge T, Calbet A, Raven JA, Granéli E, Glibert P, Hansen PJ, Stoecker DK, Thingstad F, Tillmann U, Våge S, Wilken S, Zubkov M. (2014) The role of mixotrophic protists in the biological carbon pump. Biogeosciences 11: 995-1005.
4. Wilken S, Huisman J, Naus-Wiezer S, Van Donk E. (2013) Mixotrophic organisms become more heterotrophic with rising temperature. Ecology Letters 16: 225-233.
3. Wilken S, Hoffmann B, Hersch N, Kirchgessner N, Dieluweit S, Rubner W, Hoffmann LJ, Merkel R, Peeken I. (2011) Diatom frustules show increased mechanical strength and altered valve morphology under iron limitation. Limnology and Oceanography 56: 1399-1410.
2. Wilken S, Wiezer S, Huisman J, Van Donk E. (2010) Microcystins do not provide anti-herbivore defence against mixotrophic flagellates. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 59: 207-216.
1. Van Donk E, Cerbin S, Wilken S, Helmsing NR, Ptacnik R, Verschoor AM. (2009) The effect of a mixotrophic chrysophyte on toxic and colony forming cyanobacteria. Freshwater Biology 54: 1843-1855.
2013 PhD, University of Utrecht, Mixotrophs in aquatic ecosystems: linking physiology to food web dynamics
2007 MSc, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel, Impact of iron limitation on the mechanical stability and silica metabolism of diatoms
2018 – Assistant Professor, Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, NL
2015 – 2018 Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, CA, USA, and
Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM-CSIC), Barcelona, ES; Advisors: Alexandra Worden and Ramon Massana
2013 – 2015 Postdoctoral Researcher, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, CA, USA; Advisor: Alexandra Worden
2013 Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Aquatic Ecology, Lund University, Lund, SE; Advisors: Karin Rengefors and Lars-Anders Hansson
2008 – 2013 PhD Student, Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Wageningen, NL; Advisor: Ellen van Donk
2009 – 2010 Guest Researcher, Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam, NL; Advisor: Jef Huisman
2007 Junior Researcher; Leibniz-Institute of Marine Research (GEOMAR), Kiel, DE; Advisors: Ilka Peeken and Ulf Riebesell
2005 – 2006 Student Research Assistant, Leibniz-Institute of Marine Research (GEOMAR), Kiel, DE and
Alfred Wegener-Institute of Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, DE