Aarhus Universitets segl

Maria Scheel

Ph.D., Postdoc

Maria Scheel


My current postdoctoral research utilizes Total RNA sequencing and metatranscriptomic analysis on environmental microbiomes. My current authorships especially include my PhD research on eroding permafrost microbiomes and particularly the discovery of active predation in these systems. During my PhD at Aarhus University, I investigated how 26500-year-old Arctic permafrost microbiomes respond to abrupt erosion through 16S, ITS and total RNA sequencing.

Ever since my first dip into science, I live by what Ken Wilber put into better words: “To understand the whole it is necessary to understand the parts. To understand the parts, it is necessary to understand the whole. Such is the circle of understanding.” As a result, my education ranged from global (meteorology, marine biology) to molecular aspects of biology (biochemistry, genetics). I quickly realized that genetic tools are my preferred and most versatile way to connect the dots. Since my Master’s project on in situ thermally stressed Arctic zooplankton, I was hooked by the extremophiles and followed the idea to utilize molecular tools to understand ecological responses within the Arctic ecosystems under environmental stress.

By now my subjects ranged from environmental microbiomes, including many extremophiles, to protists, zooplankton, and hydrocarbon degraders. I used experimental heat shock and substrate utilization experiments, as well as vulnerable environment total RNA extraction and sequencing, amplicon sequencing, qPCR, fieldwork in high Arctic ecosystems, and bioinformatic analysis using bash, R and python. Furthermore, I currently engage in scientific outreach such as chief editor for the EGU Cryo Blog, and formerly represented APECS Denmark and the social media management for Greenland Ecosystem Monitoring.

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