Univ.-Prof. Dr. Martin Polz






Professor at the Division of Microbial Ecology

☎ +43 1 4277 91207


Microbes are the most abundant and diverse organisms on the planet. Yet how this diversity is structured in the environment remains poorly understood. Martin’s group is broadly interested in structure-function relationships within microbial communities. How do gene flow, environmental interactions, and selection structure populations? How does viral predation drive the ecology and evolution of microbes? How fast do microbes grow in environmental samples?

The group addresses these questions by a combination of in situ molecular approaches, environmental genomics, traditional physiological and genetic techniques, and modelling. They study patterns of diversity among co-occurring microbes from the level of the entire community to the individual genome and gene. Their model systems include marine microbes as well as animal microbiomes. Their latest projects focus on microbe-virus interactions and on growth dynamics under environmental conditions.

Research Topics

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 view Martin Polz' teaching activities at the University of Vienna, visit u:find.

Group Members


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Sichert, A., Corzett, C. H., Schechter, M. S., Unfried, F., Markert, S., Becher, D., Fernandez-Guerra, A., Liebeke, M., Schweder, T., Polz, M. F., & Hehemann, J-H. (2020). Verrucomicrobia use hundreds of enzymes to digest the algal polysaccharide fucoidan. Nature Microbiology, 5(8), 1026-1039. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-020-0720-2

Bongrand, C., Moriano-Gutierrez, S., Arevalo, P., McFall-Ngai, M., Visick, K. L., Polz, M., & Ruby, E. G. (2020). Using Colonization Assays and Comparative Genomics To Discover Symbiosis Behaviors and Factors in Vibrio fischeri. mBio, 11(2), [e03407-19]. https://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.03407-19