Paul Bodelier is a senior scientist at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology in Wageningen, the Netherlands since 2008. He obtained his PhD at the University of Nijmegen in 1997 focusing on nitrogen cycling in the rhizosphere of wetland plants. From 1997-1999 the scope of his work was expanded to methane cycling in rice paddies during a post-doc stay at the Max-Planck Institute for terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg, Germany, working together with the inspiring mentor Prof. Peter Frenzel. The MPI period was followed by a post-doc position at the Centre for Limnology of the Netherlands Institute of ecology in Nieuwersluis, the Netherlands which was continued in 2008 by tenured position at the same Institute.
The research in that period as well as the current research topics are reflected in his broad interest and perspective on ecology and interactions between microbes and their biotic and abiotic environment. His work has always spanned multiple levels of biological organization. The central topic of his current research line is the biogeochemical cycling of carbon and nutrients in wetlands and soils, mainly related to methane production and consumption. This area of research has proven particularly well-suited to link even combined multi-level effects to global element cycles, as the factors ultimately controlling atmospheric methane emissions include both physical (e.g. flooding, fertilizer use, temperature) and biotic factors (community composition, protozoa, macrofauna, plants, animals). For these studies he used microbiological, biogeochemical, molecular biological, analytical chemical as well as isotopic approaches spanning the organization levels form gene to ecosystems. In addition, he actively seeks cooperation with researchers in order to make use of the current rapid development of new techniques to unravel the ecology of microbes in natural systems (e.g. massive parallel sequencing and protein stable isotope labeling).
Besides following his personal research interests he serves the scientific community by editorial activities (specialty chief editor at Frontiers in Terrestrial Microbiology; Section editor at Plant and Soil, editorial board member at ISME Journal and Applied and Environmental Microbiology; ad hoc reviewer for more than 20 journals; grant reviewing activities NSF, NERC, NWO, ERC, Czech science foundation, Danish research Council etc.).
Next to these activities he also has a strong interest in the wellbeing of his colleagues, whose interest he represents by being the chairman of the personnel representative committee of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology and member of the employee’s council of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.