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Matthias Hötzinger

Matthias Hötzinger


I’m interested in the evolution and ecology of aquatic bacteria. Which evolutionary mechanisms generate and maintain their genomic diversity, and how is this diversity reflected in ecological functions? Bacterial diversity may be promoted, for instance, through adaptations to specific physico-chemical factors or co-evolution with predators such as bacteriophages. I try to link respective adaptations and influences with genomic properties through bioinformatic analysis. In current research projects I focus on adaptations in hypoxic and anoxic environments. 

As a collaborator in the ImprovAFish project, which strives to decipher the interrelations among feed, microbiome, and host phenotype in Atlantic salmon, I’m involved in single cell genomics and metagenome analysis of gut microbiota. The influence of different feed additives on microbiome structure and functional properties will be determined and linked to fish phenotype. 

In another project, I study bacterial communities in a time-series of depth profiles from the seasonally stratified Lake Loclat, Switzerland. Here, I investigate genomic diversification that may allow certain bacterial taxa to thrive in oxic waters as well as anoxic layers that persist during summer. Deciphering genomic variation that enables such adaptations may help to better understand ecological diversification among related bacteria. 


Research stages

Since 2021: Researcher, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (PI: Stefan Bertilsson)

2018 – 2020: Postdoctoral fellow, Department of Biology and Environmental Science, Linnaeus University (PI: Karin Holmfeldt)

2013 – 2018: PhD student and postdoctoral fellow, Research Department for Limnology, University of Innsbruck (PI: Martin Hahn)

2012: PhD student, Department of Aquatic Microbial Ecology, Biology Centre CAS (PI: Karel Šimek)


2017: PhD in Biology, University of Salzburg

2011: Master of Science in Chemistry, University of Vienna

Selected publications

Hoetzinger M., Pitt A., Huemer A., Hahn M.W. Continental-Scale Gene Flow Prevents Allopatric Divergence of Pelagic Freshwater Bacteria. Genome Biology and Evolution 13, 3 (2021)

Nuy J.K., Hoetzinger M., Hahn M.W., Beisser D., Boenigk J. Ecological differentiation in two major freshwater bacterial taxa along environmental gradients. Frontiers in Microbiology 11:154 (2020)

Hoetzinger M., Schmidt J., Pitt A., Koll U., Lang E., Hahn M.W. Polynucleobacter paneuropaeus sp. nov., characterized by six strains isolated from freshwater lakes located along a 3000 km north–south cross-section across Europe. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 69: 203–213 (2019)

Hoetzinger M., Hahn M.W. Genomic divergence and cohesion in a species of pelagic freshwater bacteria. BMC Genomics 18, 794 (2017)

Hoetzinger M., Schmidt J., Jezberova J., Koll U., Hahn M.W. Microdiversification of a pelagic Polynucleobacter species is mainly driven by acquisition of genomic islands from a partially interspecific gene pool. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 83(3):e02266-16 (2017)