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The Atacama Desert is not only considered as the most arid region on Earth, but also the most lifeless terrestrial ecosystem. Nevertheless, organisms do exist in diverse hostile habitats within this biome. The spatial and temporal occurrence of essentially all living organisms in the Atacama Desert is strongly dependent on the availability of water, which reaches the desert in the form of sparse rainfall or fog (see cluster A). Fog derived moisture supports the biota along the coast below the inversion zone (Schulz et al. 2011) and on isolated patches inland (Latorre et al. 2011; Pinto et al. 2006), while rainfall events occur along the eastern and southern margins of the Atacama Desert (Houston 2006b).

Project B2


Evolution, biogeography and genetic diversity of insects and their associated gregarine protists

Research areas: Evolution, Biodiversity, Phylogeny, Population Genetics

Principal investigator: Prof. Dr. Reinhard Predel

Project B3


Project 1st Phase

Protist evolution at the dry limit

Research areas: Protistology, ecology, microbiome, aquatic ecology, evolutionary ecology

Principal investigators: Prof. Dr. Hartmut Arndt, Prof. Dr. Thomas Wiehe

Project B4


Bacteria: Distribution and activity of microorganisms in the Atacama Desert

Research areas: Microbial Ecology and Applied Microbiology

Principal investigator: Prof. Dr. Claudia Knief

Project B5


Project 1st Phase

Soils of the Atacama Desert: reservoir and fingerprint of life

Research areas: Soil Science and Biogeochemistry

Principal investigators: PD Dr. Eva Lehndorff, Dr. Roland Bol, Prof. Dr. Erwin Klumpp, Prof. Dr. Wulf Amelung

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Prof. Dr. Tibor J. Dunai
Institute of Geology and Mineralogy | University of Cologne
Zülpicher Str. 49b | 50674 Cologne
+49 (0)221 470-3229 | tdunai@uni-koeln.de
  Managing Director:
Christian Tiede
Institute of Geology and Mineralogy | University of Cologne

Zülpicher Str. 49b | 50674 Cologne
+49 (0)221 470-89833 | christian.tiede@uni-koeln.de


Prof. Dr. Martin Melles
Institute of Geology and Mineralogy | University of Cologne

Zülpicher Str. 49a | 50674 Cologne
+49 (0)221 470-2262 | mmelles@uni-koeln.de
Tim Schlüter
Institute of Geography | University of Cologne

Otto-Fischer-Str. 4 | 50674 Cologne
+49 (0)221 470-3735 | webmaster@sfb1211.de


Prof. Dr. Dietmar Quandt
Nees Institute for Biodiversity of Plants | University of Bonn

Meckenheimer Allee 170 | 53115 Bonn
+49 (0)228 73-3315 | quandt@uni-bonn.de
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