Univ.-Prof. Dr. Andreas Richter






Head of the Centre for Microbiology and Environmental Systems Science
Head of the Division of Terrestrial Ecosystem Research

☎ +43 1 4277 91260

✉ andreas.richter@univie.ac.at 

Microbial communities are key components of all global biogeochemical cycles and play a central yet poorly understood role in climate change biology. Andreas Richter’s group investigates how growth and turnover of microbial communities control the deconstruction and mineralisation of organic matter in terrestrial ecosystems in current and future climates. The group has redefined and expanded the concept of microbial carbon and nitrogen use efficiency, linking it to ecological stoichiometry theory.

Andreas also pioneered the development of methods to estimate microbial growth and carbon use efficiency based on stable oxygen isotopes. Andreas’ research group has extensively worked on soil organic matter storage in arctic ecosystems and permafrost-climate feedback, as well as in deep soils from the tropics to arctic. They also explore the interactive effects of future climate conditions and climate extremes on microbial processes, community composition, and plant-microbe interactions.

Research Topics

  • Carbon use efficiency, growth and turnover of microbial communities
  • Arctic soil carbon storage and the permafrost-climate feedback
  • Microbial communities, SOM composition and the breakdown of organic matter
  • Ecological stoichiometry and nitrogen and phosphorus cycling
  • Effect of climate change and elevated CO2 on soil processes

Join the Team

If you are interested in joining our team, explore our open positions and learn more about available PhD and postdoc stipends here.


To explore Andreas' teaching activities at the University of Vienna, visit u:find.

Research Projects

The interregional IAEA project aims to improve the understanding of the impact of climate change on fragile polar and mountainous ecosystems on both a...

Permafrost ecosystems hold more carbon than the atmosphere. There is mountain concern that rapid warming in the Arctic will accelerate the release of...

All plants release a substantial fraction of the carbon they assimilate via photosynthesis as root exudates into the soil, an input that significantly...

Collaboration with other international projects

Group Members


Mooshammer, M., Hofhansl, F., Frank, A. H., Wanek, W., Hämmerle, I., Leitner, S., Schnecker, J., Wild, B., Watzka, M., Keiblinger, K. M., Zechmeister-Boltenstern, S., & Richter, A. (2017). Decoupling of microbial carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycling in response to extreme temperature events. Science Advances, 3(5), [e1602781]. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1602781

Turner, S., Meyer-Stueve, S., Schippers, A., Guggenberger, G., Schaarschmidt, F., Wild, B., Richter, A., Dohrmann, R., & Mikutta, R. (2017). Microbial utilization of mineral-associated nitrogen in soils. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 104, 185-196. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2016.10.010

Palmtag, J., Ramage, J., Hugelius, G., Gentsch, N., Lashchinskiy, N., Richter, A., & Kuhry, P. (2016). Controls on the storage of organic carbon in permafrost soil in northern Siberia. European Journal of Soil Science, 67(4), 478-491. https://doi.org/10.1111/ejss.12357