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Aurélien Saghaï

Aurélien Saghai
I am investigating the ecology and evolution of microbial communities involved in the cycling of nitrogen in agricultural soils.


My PhD project focused on microbial mats, which are vertically laminated and phylogenetically diverse benthic microbial communities. The ecology of these complex systems is particularly fascinating due to the presence of steep biogeochemical gradients generated and maintained by the metabolic activity of diverse functional groups.

By coming to SLU I decided to give to my research a more applied perspective. I now study archaea and bacteria involved in various N transformations (denitrification, nitrification, DNRA) in arable soils and in the rhizosphere. Understanding the ecology and evolution of these microorganisms is central to the design of agricultural practices that limit N losses and contribute to mitigate both climate change and environmental pollution. 

In my research I use a combination of field surveys and experimental studies, together with multivariate and phylogenetic tools.

Selected publications

The full list of peer-reviewed publications can be found here.

Edlinger E, Saghaï A, Herzog C, Degrune F and Garland G (2020). Towards a multidimensional view of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in a changing world. New Phytol 228: 820-822.

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.

Saghaï A, Zivanovic Y, Moreira D, Tavera R and López-García P (2020). A novel microbialite-associated phototrophic Chloroflexi lineage exhibiting a quasi-clonal pattern along depth. Genome Biol Evol 12:1207–1216.

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.

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.

*Equal contribution

Researcher 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