Dr. Karin Glaser

Research interests

  • Using polyphasic approach to define species of terrestrial microalgal key players
  • Combine culture-dependent and –independ methods to uncover species composition within biological soil crusts (microscopy, sequencing of ribosomal marker genes)
  • Reveal the ecological function of biological soil crusts by linking methods from soil science with diversity analyses in the crust
  • Develop and optimize modern molecular methods (Next-generation-sequencing) for the application in biological soil crusts

Current Projects

DuneCrusts - Terrestrial diatoms in biological soil crusts from coastal sand dunes: assessment of their biodiversity and ecological function - financed by Rudolf and Helene Glaser-Stiftung (Deutsches Stiftungszentrum)

Algivorous Cercozoa shape the community composition of cryptogamic covers, the dominant vegetation in Polar Regions - in the frame of the DFG SPP 1158 Antarktisforschung

Crustfunction III – Land use as driver for structure and function of biological soil crusts– in the frame of the DFG SPP 1374 Biodiversity Exploratories

Biological soil crusts as unique microecosystem represent a suitable model system to address taxonomy and cryptic diversity of microalgal key players – in the frame of the DFG SPP 1991 Taxonomics.


2017: Grant of the Max Buchner Research Foundation of the DECHEMA

2019: best poster award at Biocrust 4

Public Outreach

video spot in "Nordmagazin" NDR about the project DuneCrust on 30th June 2021

article in the local press "Ostseezeitung" about the project DuneCrust on 18th March 2021 (based on press release of the University Rostock)

article in the local press "Ostseezeitung" about the project Crustfunction III on 5th February 2021 (based on press release of the University Rostock)



Kammann S, Schiefelbein U, Dolnik C, Mikhailyuk T, Demchenko E, Karsten U, Glaser K. Successional Development of the Phototrophic Community in Biological Soil Crusts on Coastal and Inland Dunes. Biology. 2023; 12(1):58. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12010058


Gall, C., Ohan, J., Glaser, K., Karsten, U., Schloter, M., Scholten, T., Schulz, S., Seitz, S., & Kurth, J. K. (2022). Biocrusts: Overlooked hotspots of managed soils in mesic environments. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 185, 745– 751. https://doi.org/10.1002/jpln.202200252

Glaser, K., Van, A.T., Pushkareva, E., Barrantes, I. and Karsten, U. Microbial communities in biocrusts are recruited from the neighboring sand at coastal dunes along the Baltic Sea. Front. Microbiol. 13,859447. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2022.859447

Glaser, K., Albrecht, M., Baumann, K., Overmann, J., Sikorski, J., 2022. Biological Soil Crust From Mesic Forests Promote a Specific Bacteria Community. Front. Microbiol. 13, 769767. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2022.769767

Van, A.T., Glaser, K., 2022. Pseudostichococcus Stands Out from Its Siblings Due to High Salinity and Desiccation Tolerance. Phycology 2, 108–119. https://doi.org/10.3390/phycology2010007

Mikhailyuk, T., Vinogradova, O., Holzinger, A., Glaser, K., Akimov, Y., Karsten, U., 2022. Timaviella dunensis sp. nov. from sand dunes of the Baltic Sea, Germany, and emendation of Timaviella edaphica (Elenkin) O.M. Vynogr. & Mikhailyuk (Synechococcales, Cyanobacteria) based on an integrative approach. Phytotaxa 532, 192–208. https://doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.532.3.1

Sommer, V., Palm, A., Schink, A., Leinweber, P., Gose, N., Karsten, U. & Glaser, K. Artificial biocrust establishment on materials of potash tailings piles along a salinity gradient. J Appl Phycol34, 405–421 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10811-021-02609-7


Van, A. T., Karsten, U., and Glaser, K. (2021). A chemosystematic investigation of selected Stichococcus-like organisms (Trebouxiophyta). Algae 36(2): 123-135. doi: 10.4490/algae.2021.36.6.5.

Medwed, C., Holzinger, A., Hofer, S., Hartmann, A., Michalik, D., Glaser, K., and Karsten, U. (2021). Ecophysiological, morphological, and biochemical traits of free-living Diplosphaera chodatii (Trebouxiophyceae) reveal adaptation to harsh environmental conditions. Protoplasma. doi:10.1007/s00709-021-01620-6.

Van, A. T., Sommer, V., and Glaser, K. (2021). The Ecophysiological Performance and Traits of Genera within the Stichococcus-like Clade (Trebouxiophyceae) under Matric and Osmotic Stress. Microorganisms 9, 1816. doi:10.3390/microorganisms9091816.

Mikhailyuk, T., Vinogradova, O., Glaser, K., Rybalka, N., Demchenko, E. M., and Karsten, U. (2021). Algae of Biological Soil Crusts from Sand Dunes of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve (Odesa Region, Ukraine). International Journal on Algae 23, 7–42.

Baumann, K., Eckhardt, K.-U., Acksel, A., Gros, P., Glaser, K., Gillespie, A. W., Karsten, U. and Leinweber, P. (2021). Contribution of biological soil crusts to soil organic matter composition and stability in temperate forests. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 160, 108315. doi:10.1016/j.soilbio.2021.108315.

Prelle, L., Albrecht, M., Karsten, U., Damer, P., Giese, T., Jähns, J., Müller, S., Schulz, L., Viertel, L. and Glaser, K. (2021). Ecophysiological and cell biological traits of benthic diatoms from coastal wetlands of the southern Baltic Sea. Frontiers in Microbiology. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2021.642811

Khanipour Roshan, S., Dumack, K., Bonkowski, M., Leinweber, P., Karsten, U., and Glaser, K. (2021). Taxonomic and Functional Diversity of Heterotrophic Protists (Cercozoa and Endomyxa) from Biological Soil Crusts. Microorganisms 9, 205. doi:10.3390/microorganisms9020205.

Kurth, J. K., Albrecht, M., Karsten, U., Glaser, K., Schloter, M., and Schulz, S. (2021). Correlation of the abundance of bacteria catalyzing phosphorus and nitrogen turnover in biological soil crusts of temperate forests of Germany. Biol Fertil Soils, 14. doi:10.1007/s00374-020-01515-3.

Graiff, A., Bartsch, I., Glaser, K. & Karsten, U. (2021) Seasonal photophysiological performance of adult western Baltic Fucus vesiculosus (Phaeophyceae) under ocean warming and acidification. Frontiers in Marine Science 8,476. doi:10.3389/fmars.2021.666493


Aigner, S., Glaser, K., Arc, E., Holzinger, A., Schletter, M., Karsten, U., and Kranner, I. (2020). Adaptation to Aquatic and Terrestrial Environments in Chlorella vulgaris (Chlorophyta). Front. Microbiol. 11, 585836. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2020.585836.

Hartmann, A., Glaser, K., Holzinger, A., Ganzera, M., and Karsten, U. (2020). Klebsormidin A and B, Two New UV-Sunscreen Compounds in Green Microalgal Interfilum and Klebsormidium Species (Streptophyta) From Terrestrial Habitats. Front. Microbiol. 11, 499. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2020.00499.

Kurth, J. K., Albrecht, M., Karsten, U., Glaser, K., Schloter, M., and Schulz, S. (2020). Correlation of the abundance of bacteria catalyzing phosphorus and nitrogen turnover in biological soil crusts of temperate forests of Germany. Biol Fertil Soils, 14. doi:10.1007/s00374-020-01515-3.

Roshan, K. S., Dumack, K., Bonkowski, M., Karsten, U., and Glaser, K. (2020). Stramenopiles and Cercozoa dominate the heterotrophic protist community of biological soil crusts irrespective of edaphic factors. Pedobiologia 83, 150673. doi:10.1016/j.pedobi.2020.150673.

Sommer, V., Mikhailyuk, T., Glaser, K., and Karsten, U. (2020). Uncovering Unique Green Algae and Cyanobacteria Isolated From Biocrusts in Highly Saline Potash Tailing Pile Habitats, Using an Integrative Approach. Microorganisms 8, 1667. doi:10.3390/microorganisms8111667.

Glaser, K. & Karsten, U. (2020) Salinity tolerance in biogeographically different strains of the marine benthic diatom Cylindrotheca closterium (Bacillariophyceae). Journal of Applied Phycology (2020). doi:10.1007/s10811-020-02238-6

Samolov, E., Baumann, K., Büdel, B., Jung, P., Leinweber, P., Mikhailyuk, T., Karsten, U., Glaser, K. (2020.) Biodiversity of Algae and Cyanobacteria in Biological Soil Crusts Collected Along a Climatic Gradient in Chile Using an Integrative Approach. Microorganisms 8, 1047. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8071047

Sommer, V., Karsten, U., Glaser, K. (2020). Halophilic Algal Communities in Biological Soil Crusts Isolated From Potash Tailings Pile Areas. Front. Ecol. Evol. 8, 46. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2020.00046

Mikhailyuk, T., Holzinger, A., Tsarenko, P., Glaser, K., Demchenko, E., Karsten, U. (2020). Dictyosphaerium ‐like morphotype in terrestrial algae: what is Xerochlorella (Trebouxiophyceae, Chlorophyta)? J. Phycol. 56, 671–686. https://doi.org/10.1111/jpy.12974

Ngosong, C., Buse, T., Ewald, M., Richter, A., Glaser, K., Schöning, I., Ruess, L. (2020). Influence of management intensity and environmental conditions on microbiota in biological soil crust and crust-free soil habitats of temperate forests. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 144, 107761. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2020.107761


Kern, R., Hotter, V., Frossard, A., Albrecht, M., Baum, C., Tytgat, B., De Maeyer, L., Valezquez, D., Seppey, C., Frey, B., Plötze, M, Verleyen, E., Quesada, A., Svenning, M., Glaser, K., Karsten, U. (2019). Comparative vegetation survey with focus on cryptogamic covers in the high Arctic along two differing catenas. Polar Bioldoi.org/10.1007/s00300-019-02588-z

Mikhailyuk, T., Vinogradova, O., Holzinger, A., Glaser, K., Samolov, E., & Karsten, U. (2019). New record of the rare genus Crinalium Crow (Oscillatoriales, Cyanobacteria) from sand dunes of the Baltic Sea, Germany: epitypification and emendation of Crinalium magnum Fritsch et John based on an integrative approach. Phytotaxa, 400: 165.

Mikhailyuk T., Glaser K., Tsarenko P., Demchenko E., Karsten U. 2019. Composition of biological soil crusts from sand dunes of the Baltic Sea coast in the context of an integrative approach to the taxonomy of microalgae and cyanobacteria. European Journal of Phycology 1–28.

Sommer, V., Kockx, M., Wölk, A. & Glaser, K. (2019) Von Vogelkot zu grünen Teppichen – Eine neue Möglichkeit, Kali-Rückstandshalden mit biologischen Bodenkrusten zu begrünen. Biologie in unserer Zeit 49 (2), 122-130. doi.org/10.1002/biuz.201910671


Samolov, E., Mikhailyuk, T., Lukešová, A., Glaser, K., Büdel, B. & Karsten, U. (2018) Usual alga from unusual habitats: biodiversity of Klebsormidium (Klebsormidiophyceae, Streptophyta) from the phylogenetic superclade G isolated from biological soil crusts. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 133, 236-255. doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2018.12.018

Mikhailyuk, T., Vinogradova, O., Glaser, K., Demchenko, E. & Karsten, U. (2018) Diversity of terrestrial algae of Cape Kazantip (the Sea of Azov, Ukraine) and some remarks on their phylogeny and ecology. International Journal on Algae 20, 313-338. doi.org/10.1615/InterJAlgae.v20.i4.10

Mikhailyuk, T., Lukešová, A., Glaser, K., Holzinger, A., Obwegeser, S., Nyporko, S., Friedl, T., Karsten, U. (2018). New Taxa of Streptophyte Algae (Streptophyta) from Terrestrial Habitats Revealed Using an Integrative Approach. Protist 169:406–431. DOI: 10.1016/j.protis.2018.03.002

Pierangelini, M., Glaser, K., Mikhailyuk, T., Karsten, U., Holzinger, A. (2018). Light and Dehydration but Not Temperature Drive Photosynthetic Adaptations of Basal Streptophytes (Hormidiella, Streptosarcina and Streptofilum) Living in Terrestrial Habitats. Microbial Ecology. DOI: 10.1007/s00248-018-1225-x

Lv, Z., Leite, AF., Harms, H., Glaser, K., Liebetrau, J., Kleinsteuber, S., Nikolausz, M. (2018). Microbial community shifts in biogas reactors upon complete or partial ammonia inhibition. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. DOI: 10.1007/s00253-018-9444-0

Glaser, K., Baumannn, K., Leinweber, P., Mikhailyuk, T., Karsten, U. (2018), Algal richness in BSCs in forests under different management intensity with some implications for P cycling, Biogeosciences 15:4181-4192, DOI: 10.5194/bg-15-4181-2018.


Glaser, K., Donner, A., Albrecht, M., Mikhailyuk, T., & Karsten, U. (2017), Habitat-specific composition of morphotypes with low genetic diversity in the green algal genus Klebsormidium (Streptophyta) isolated from biological soil crusts in Central European grasslands and forests, Eur J Phycol, 52: 188–199, DOI: 10.1080/09670262.2016.1235730.

Baumann, K., Glaser, K., Mutz, J.-E., Karsten, U., MacLennan, A., Hu, Y., Michalik, D., Kruse, J., Eckhardt, K.-U., Schall, P., Leinweber, P. (2017), Biological soil crusts of temperate forests: Their role in P cycling, Soil Biol. Biochem., 109, 156–166, DOI: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2017.02.011.

Fiore-Donno, A.M., Rixen, C., Rippin, M., Glaser, K., Samolov, E., Karsten, U., et al. (2017), New barcoded primers for efficient retrieval of cercozoan sequences in high-throughput environmental diversity surveys, with emphasis on worldwide biological soil crusts, bioRxiv, 171611, preprint, DOI: 10.1101/171611.

Donner, A., Glaser, K.; Borchhardt, N.; Karsten U. (2017), Ecophysiological response on dehydration and temperature in terrestrial Klebsormidium (Strptophyta) isolated from biological soil crusts in Central European grasslands and forests, Environmental Microbiology, DOI: 10.1007/s00248-016-0917-3.

Lippert, H., Weigelt, R., Glaser, K., Krauss, R., Bastrop, R., Karsten, U. (2017), Teredo navalis in the Baltic Sea: Larval Dynamics of an Invasive Wood-Boring Bivalve at the Edge of Its Distribution, Front Mar Sci, 4, DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2017.00331.

2016 and earlier

Mikhailyuk, T., Vinogradova, O.N., Glaser, K., Karsten, U. (2016), New Taxa for the Flora of Ukraine, in the Context of Modern Approaches to Taxonomy of Cyanoprokaryota/Cyanobacteria, International Journal on Algae 18, DOI: 10.1615/InterJAlgae.v18.i4.10.

Wintsche, B., Glaser, K., Sträuber, H., Centler, F., Liebetrau, J., Harms, H., & Kleinsteuber, S. (2016), Trace Elements Induce Predominance among Methanogenic Activity in Anaerobic Digestion, Front Microbiol, 7: 2034, DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.02034.

Mikhailyuk, T., Glaser, K., Holzinger, A., Karsten, U. (2015), Biodiversity of Klebsormidium (Streptophyta) from alpine biological soil crusts (Alps, Tyrol, Austria, and Italy), J Phycol 51:750–767, DOI: 10.1111/jpy.12316.

Glaser, K., Kuppardt, A., Boenigk, J., Harms, H., Fetzer, I., Chatzinotas, A. (2015), The influence of environmental factors on protistan microorganisms in grassland soils along a land-use gradient, Science of The Total Environment 537, 33–42, DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.07.158.

Glaser, K., Kuppardt, A., Krohn, S., Heidtmann, A., Harms, H., Chatzinotas, A. (2014), Primer pairs for the specific environmental detection and T-RFLP analysis of the ubiquitous flagellate taxa Chrysophyceae and Kinetoplastea, J. Microbiol. Methods 100: 8–16, DOI: 10.1016/j.mimet.2014.02.006.

Allan, E., Bossdorf, O., Dormann, C.F., Prati, D., Gossner, M.M., Tscharntke, T., Blüthgen, N., Bellach, M., Birkhofer, K., Boch, S., Böhm, S., Börschig, C., Chatzinotas, A., Christ, S., Daniel, R., Diekötter, T., Fischer, C., Friedl, T., Glaser, K., Hallmann, C., Hodac, L., Hölzel, N., Jung, K., Klein, A.M., Klaus, V.H., Kleinebecker, T., Krauss, J., Lange, M., Morris, E.K., Müller, J., Nacke, H., Pašalić, E., Rillig, M.C., Rothenwöhrer, C., Schall, P., Scherber, C., Schulze, W., Socher, S.A., Steckel, J., Steffan-Dewenter, I., Türke, M., Weiner, C.N., Werner, M., Westphal, C., Wolters, V., Wubet, T., Gockel, S., Gorke, M., Hemp, A., Renner, S.C., Schöning, I., Pfeiffer, S., König-Ries, B., Buscot, F., Linsenmair, K.E., Schulze, E.-D., Weisser, W.W., Fischer, M. (2014), Interannual variation in land-use intensity enhances grassland multidiversity, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111, 308–313, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1312213111.

Chatzinotas, A., Schellenberger, S., Glaser, K., Kolb, S. (2013), Assimilation of Cellulose-Derived Carbon by Microeukaryotes in Oxic and Anoxic Slurries of an Aerated Soil, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 79:18 5777-5781, DOI: 10.1128/AEM.01598-13.

Leibeling, S., Glaser, K., Neytschev, M., Harms, H., Müller, R. (2014), Productive Degradation of Dichlorprop by Transconjugant Strains Carrying Plasmid pMC1 of Delftia acidovorans MC1 with Special Focus on the Activity of RdpA, p. 1:28, In Handbook on Herbicides: Biological Activity, Classification and Health & Environmental Implications. Nova Science Publishers Inc.


Work experience      
Since 2016 Scientific Assistant Support teaching and diverse projects Applied Ecology & Phycology, University of Rostock
2014-2016 Scientist Crustfunction within DFG-funded SPP 1374 Applied Ecology & Phycology, University of Rostock
2012-2014 Scientist Microbial systems ecology, Bioenergy (cooperation DBFZ) Environmental Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ
2008-2011 Scientist ActiFlag within DFG-funded SPP 1374 Environmental Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ
2016 Doctoral Thesis Monitoring diversity patterns of active flagellate taxa in different grassland ecosystems as a tool in terrestrial ecology University of Leipzig
2008-2011 HIGRADE Graduate school Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ
2007-2008 Diploma thesis Identification of potential activity markers in protists by molecular and proteomic techniques Environmental Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ
2002-2008 Studies Biology; main subjects: Microbiology, Genetics, Immunology, Biochemistry University of Leipzig

Contact Details

Dr. Karin Glaser
University of Rostock
Institute for Biological Sciences
Applied Ecology and Phycology
Albert-Einstein-Str. 3
D-18059 Rostock
Phone +49 381 498 6094
Fax +49 381 498 6072


K. Glaser. © J. Tetzke
Filamentous algae stabilize sandy particles and form a biological soil crust.