My research interests are broadly focused on interactions between organisms and the impact on ecosystems such interactions may have. From my bachelor studies on, I started to focus on aquatic ecology and interactions between microbial aquatic organisms. During my master thesis I studied competitive interactions between freshwater heterotrophic bacteria and the toxic cyanobacteria Planktothrix rubescens in Lake Zürich. During my PhD I got fascinated by a more “evil” kind of interaction, namely fungal parasitism on a diatom. For my first postdoc project I went to Uruguay to study zooplankton parasites in subtropical temporary ponds. Stimulated by my strong interest in aquatic parasitic fungi, I moved to Germany with an IGB fellowship award in the group of Prof. Hans-Peter Grossart and picked up my research on the ecology and evolution of fungal parasites of phytoplankton.
In 2017 I obtained my own research grant of the German science foundation to investigate the diversity and ecophysiology of parasitic chytrid fungi associated with phytoplankton blooms in aquatic ecosystems. Recently I obtained a postdoc fellowship at WCL and continue my research on zoosporic parasites with the aim to evaluate to what extent zoosporic parasites drive phytoplankton bloom dynamics and to which consumers they are linked within the food web.
Parasites are an integral part of the ecosystem and they can greatly add to our knowledge on ecosystem functioning. The more information we obtain about processes that shape ecosystems the better we can conserve them. In my research I try to integrate evolution and ecology since it is the feedback between both processes that drive ecosystem dynamics. I combine multiple approaches such as field studies, experiments and simulation models.
Theoretical expertise: limnology, aquatic microbial ecology, population genetics, ecology and evolution of host-parasite interactions, Chytrid taxonomy.
Practical expertise: field sampling techniques, isolation and cultivation of aquatic fungi and phytoplankton, experimentation with phytoplankton-chytrid model systems, experimental design and statistical analysis, light and fluorescence microscopy, flow cytometry, molecular methods; CARD-FISH (fluorescence In situ hybridization), microsatellite markers, molecular diversity and phylogenetics (1st, 2nd and 3rd generation sequencing methods), agent based modeling.
List of Publications
Van den Wyngaert S. & Kagami M. (accepted for publication) Fungi and chytrids. In: Encyclopedia of Inland Waters 2nd Edition
Rasconi S., Ptacnik R., Dannera S., Van den Wyngaert S., Rohrlack T., Pileckya M. and Kainz M.J. (2020) Parasitic chytrids upgrade and convey primary produced carbon during inedible algae proliferation. Protist. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.protis.2020.125768
Sánchez Barranco, V., Van der Meer, M.T.J., Kagami, M., Van den Wyngaert, S., Van de Waal, D.B., Van Donk, E., Gsell, A.S. (2020) Trophic position, elemental ratios and nitrogen transfer in a planktonic host–parasite–consumer food chain including a fungal parasite. Oecologia. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-020-04721-w
Seto, K., Van den Wyngaert, S., Degawa, Y. & Kagami, M. (2020). Taxonomic revision of the genus Zygorhizidium: Zygorhizidiales and Zygophlyctidales ord. nov. (Chytridiomycetes, Chytridiomycota). Fungal Systematics and Evolution, 5, 17-38. doi.org/10.3114/fuse.2020.05.02
Wurzbacher, C., Kreiling, A.-K., Svantesson, S., Van den Wyngaert, S., Larsson, E., Heeger, F. et al. (2020). Fungal communities in groundwater springs along the volcanic zone of Iceland. Inland Waters, 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1080/20442041.2019.1689065
Taube, R., Fabian, J., Van den Wyngaert, S., Agha, R., Baschien, C., Gerphagnon, M. et al. (2019). Potentials and limitations of quantification of fungi in freshwater environments based on PLFA profiles. Fungal Ecology, 41, 256-268.
Wurzbacher, C., Larsson, E., Bengtsson‐Palme, J., Van den Wyngaert, S., Svantesson, S., Kristiansson, E., Kagami, M. and Nilsson, R. H. (2018), Introducing ribosomal tandem repeat barcoding for fungi. Molecular Ecology Resources. doi:10.1111/1755-0998.12944
Van den Wyngaert, S., Rojas-Jimenez, K., Seto, K., Kagami, M. & Grossart, H.-P. (2018). Diversity and Hidden Host Specificity of Chytrids Infecting Colonial Volvocacean Algae. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology. doi:10.1111/jeu.12632
Nilsson, R. H., A. F. S. Taylor, R. I. Adams, C. Baschien, J. Bengtsson-Palme, P. Cangren, C. Coleine, H.-M. Daniel, S. I. Glassman, Y. Hirooka, L. Irinyi, R. Iršėnaitė, Pedro M. Martin-Sanchez, W. Meyer, S.-Y. Oh, Jose P. Sampaio, K. A. Seifert, F. Sklenář, D. Stubbe, S.-O. Suh, R. Summerbell, S. Svantesson, M. Unterseher, Cobus M. Visagie, M. Weiss, J. H. C. Woudenberg, C. Wurzbacher, S. Van den Wyngaert, N. Yilmaz, A. Yurkov, U. Kõljalg, and K. Abarenkov. (2018). Taxonomic annotation of public fungal ITS sequences from the built environment – a report from an April 10–11, 2017 workshop (Aberdeen, UK). MycoKeys 28:65-82.
Frenken, T., E. Alacid, S. A. Berger, E. C. Bourne, M. Gerphagnon, H.-P. Grossart, A. S. Gsell, B. W. Ibelings, M. Kagami, F. C. Küpper, P. M. Letcher, A. Loyau, T. Miki, J. C. Nejstgaard, S. Rasconi, A. Reñé, T. Rohrlack, K. Rojas-Jimenez, D. S. Schmeller, B. Scholz, K. Seto, T. Sime-Ngando, A. Sukenik, D. B. Van de Waal, S. Van den Wyngaert, E. Van Donk, J. Wolinska, C. Wurzbacher, and R. Agha. (2017). Integrating chytrid fungal parasites into plankton ecology: research gaps and needs. Environmental Microbiology 19:3802-3822.
Silke Van den Wyngaert, Kensuke Seto, Keilor Rojas-Jimenez, Maiko Kagami, Hans-Peter Grossart, A New Parasitic Chytrid, (Rhizophydiales, Staurastromycetaceae fam. nov.), Infecting the Freshwater Desmid sp., Protist, Volume 168, Issue 4, 2017, Pages 392-407, ISSN 1434-4610, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.protis.2017.05.001.
Van den Wyngaert S., Möst M., Freimann R., Ibelings B.W., Spaak P. (2015) Hidden diversity in the freshwater planktonic diatom Asterionella formosa. Molecular Ecology (2015) 24, 2955–2972. doi: 10.1111/mec.13218
Van den Wyngaert S., Vanholsbeeck O., Spaak P. and Ibelings B. W. (2014), Parasite fitness traits under environmental variation: disentangling the roles of a chytrid’s immediate host and external environment. Microb Ecol:1-12. doi:10.1007/s00248-014-0434-1
Van den Wyngaert S., Gsell A. S., Spaak P. and Ibelings B. W. (2013), Herbicides in the environment alter infection dynamics in a microbial host–parasite system. Environmental Microbiology. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2012.02874.x
Ibelings, B.W., Gsell, A.S., Mooij, W.M., van Donk, E., Van den Wyngaert, S. & Domis, L.N.D. (2011). Chytrid infections and diatom spring blooms: paradoxical effects of climate warming on fungal epidemics in lakes. Freshwat. Biol., 56, 754-766.
Van den Wyngaert S, Salcher M.M., Pernthaler J., Zeder M. and Posch T. (2011). Quantitative dominance of seasonally persistent filamentous cyanobacteria (Planktothrix rubescens) in the microbial assemblages of a temperate lake. Limnol. Oceanogr. 56:97-109.
Zeder M., Van den Wyngaert S., Köster O., Felder K.M., Pernthaler J. (2010). Automated quantification and sizing of unbranched filamentous cyanobacteria by model based object oriented image analysis. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 76(5):1615-1622.
2020 – present Postdoc fellow at Wassercluster Lunz (Austria). Project title: Phytoplankton-parasites, the “dark matter” of pelagic ecosystems.
2017 – 2020 DFG research grant (Principal investigator) at IGB, Germany. Project Title: Molecular and ecophysiological diversity of phytoplankton-fungi associations.
2014 – 2017 Postdoc-fellowship (IGB, Germany) “Diversity, ecology and evolution of aquatic chytrids”
2012 – 2014 Postdoc-fellowship (University of Leuven, Belgium and University of the Republic, Uruguay) “The role of parasites in modifying trophic interactions and ecosystem properties on a local and metacommunity scale in freshwater ecosystems”
2008 – 2012 PhD at Eawag (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science & Technology, ETH Zürich, Switzerland), department of Aquatic Ecology (supervisors: Dr. Piet Spaak and Dr. Bas Ibelings)
2007 – 2008 Master of Science in Biology – Microbiology (University of Zürich) Titel of the master thesis: Spatio-temporal dynamics of Planktothrix rubescens and heterotrophic bacteria in Lake Zurich (supervisor: Dr. Thomas Posch – Limnological station UZH)
2003 – 2007 Bachelor of Science in Biology (University of Zürich)