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Aurélien Saghaï

Aurélien Saghai
I am investigating the ecology of microbial communities, with a particular interest in those involved in the cycling of nitrogen in agricultural soils.


My main research interest lies in the understanding of the structure and the functioning of natural microbial communities. After completing a PhD mainly focusing on communities associated to diverse microbial mats, I decided to give to my research an applied perspective by investigating the ecology of soil microbial communities in agro-ecosystems. My current projects involve both field and experimental work, with an emphasis on the assessment of the role of community composition (both above and belowground) on the genetic potential for different N transformations (nitrification, denitrification and DNRA) in arable soils (including bulk soil, rhizosphere and root compartments).

Selected publications

Full publication list in peer-reviewed journals since 2015:

[1] Graf DRH, Saghaï A, Zhao M, Carlsson G, Jones CM and Hallin S (2019). Lucerne (Medicago sativa) alters N2O-reducing communities associated with cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata) roots and promotes N2O production in intercropping in a greenhouse experiment. Soil Biol and Biochem 137:107547.

[2] Gutiérrez-Preciado A*, Saghaï A*, Moreira D, Zivanovic Y, Deschamps, P and López-García P (2018). Functional shifts in microbial mats recapitulate early Earth metabolic transitions. Nature Evol Ecol 2: 1700-1708.

[3] Saghaï A, Gutiérrez-Preciado A, Deschamps P, Moreira D, Bertolino P, Ragon M, López-García JM, García-Ruiz J and López-García P (2017). Unveiling microbial interactions in stratified mat communities from a warm saline shallow pond. Environ Microbiol 19: 2405–2421.

[4] Saghaï A, Zivanovic Y, Moreira D, Benzerara K, Bertolino P, Ragon M, Tavera R, López-Archilla AI and López-García P (2016). Comparative metagenomics unveils functions and genome features of microbialite-associated communities along a depth gradient. Environ Microbiol 18: 4990-5004.

[5] Mizuno CM, Ghai R, Saghaï A, López-García P and Valera FR (2016). Genomes of abundant and widespread viruses from the deep ocean. mBio 7(4):e00805-16.

[6] Saghaï A, Zivanovic Y, Zeyen N, Moreira D, Benzerara K, Deschamps P, Bertolino P, Ragon M, Tavera R, López-Archilla AI and López-García P (2015). Metagenome-based diversity analyses suggest a significant contribution of non-cyanobacterial lineages to carbonate precipitation in modern microbialites. Front Microbiol 6:797.

*Equal contribution


Postdoctor at the Department of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology; Markmikrobiologi
Telephone: +4618-671575
Postal address:
Skoglig mykologi och växtpatologi
Box 7026
750 07 Uppsala
Visiting address: Almas Allé 5, Uppsala