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Dr. Peter Deines

Dipl. Biol., Dr. rer. nat.


physical: Building 20.10 // The Station Crescent // Oteha Rohe
tel: +64 9 4140800 ext 41493 // email: p.deines(at)


After obtaining a Diploma in Biological Sciences from the Christian Albrechts University (CAU), Kiel, Germany in 2002 with research undertaken at the Max-Planck Institute for Limnology (MPIL), Ploen, Germany on aquatic microbial food webs, I received an internship to conduct research on chemosynthetic ecosystems in the Fisher Deep-Sea Lab at the Pennsylvania State University, USA. Returning back to Germany I pursued a PhD in Biological Sciences completed in 2006 at the MPIL in Ploen exploring carbon cycling in lakes and associated microbe-invertebrate interactions. I then moved to the UK to take up a Marie Curie Research Fellowship (Transfer of Knowledge) at The University of Sheffield, UK where I studied microbes in engineered ecosystems. After being awarded one of the prestigious Feodor Lynen Research Fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation I moved to New Zealand in 2009 to work at The University of Auckland on the microbial ecology of sponges. I have been a Teaching Postdoctoral Fellow at Massey University in microbial genetics and ecology since 2011.


I am interested in the ecology and evolution of eukaryote - microbe interactions, focusing on symbiotic associations and predator - prey relationships.

Central to my present research is a project exploring the interactions between eukaryote hosts and their associated microbes, particularly the breakdown of mutualistic relationships and pathogen evolution in the sea. There is growing evidence that environmental change enhances the risk of mutualistic breakdowns. Warmer water bodies correlate with emerging diseases leading to substantial mortality among hosts in marine ecosystems, with microorganisms causing a large proportion of these diseases. I am using Vibrios as a model to examine these relationships. Vibrios, which are highly abundant in aquatic environments, are well known for their diverse interactions with their eukaryote hosts, ranging from symbionts to pathogens. Thus understanding the factors that threaten theses mutualistic interactions is essential for conservation and the aquaculture industry alike.


Waite, D.W., Deines, P. & Taylor, M.W. (2013) Quantifying the impact of storage procedures for faecal bacteriotherapy in the critically endangered New Zealand parrot, the kakapo. Zoo Biology, in press.

Simister, R.L., Taylor, M.W., Rogers, K.M., Schupp, P.J. & Deines, P. (2013) Temporal molecular and isotopic analysis of active bacterial communities in two New Zealand sponges. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 85, 195-209.

Taylor, M.W., Tasi, P., Simister, R.L., Deines, P., Botté, E.S., Ericson, G., Schmitt, S. & Webster, N.S. (2013) ‘Sponge-specific’ bacteria are widespread (but rare) in diverse marine environments. The ISME Journal 7, 438-443.

Waite, D.W., Deines, P. & Taylor, M.W. (2012) Gut microbiome of the critically endangered New Zealand parrot, the kakapo (Strigops habroptilus). PLoS ONE 7(4), e35803.

Dhami, M.K., Turner, A.P., Deines, P., Beggs, J.R. & Taylor, M.W. (2012) Ultrastructural and molecular characterisation of a bacterial symbiosis in the ecologically important scale insect family Coelostomidiidae. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 81, 537-546.

Sekar, R., Deines, P., Machell, J., Osborn, A.M., Biggs, C.A. & Boxall, J.B. (2012) Bacterial water quality and network hydraulic characteristics: a field study of a small, looped water distribution system using culture-independent molecular methods. Journal of Applied Microbiology 112(6), 1220-1234.

Hammerschmidt, K., Deines, P., Wilson, A.J. & Rolff, J. (2012) Quantitative genetics of immunity and life history under different photoperiods. Heredity 108, 569-576.

Jakobsen, P.J., Scharsack, J.P., Hammerschmidt, K., Deines, P., Kalbe, M. & Milinski, M. (2012) In vitro transition of Schistocephalus solidus (Cestoda) from coracidium to procercoid and from procercoid to plerocercoid. Experimental Parasitology 130(3), 267-273.

Simister, R.L., Deines, P., Botté, E.S., Webster, N.S. & Taylor, M.W. (2012) Sponge-specific clusters revisited: a comprehensive phylogeny of sponge-associated microorganisms. Environmental Microbiology 14(2), 517-524.

Deines, P. & Fink, P. (2011) The potential of methanotrophic bacteria to compensate for food quantity or food quality limitations in Daphnia. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 65, 197-206.

Schmitt, S., Deines, P., Behnam, F., Wagner, M. & Taylor, M.W. (2011) Chloroflexi bacteria are more diverse, abundant, and similar in high than in low microbial abundance sponges. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 78, 497-510.

Biggs, C.A, Olaleye, O.I., Jeanmeure, L.F.C., Deines, P., Jensen, H.S., Tait, S.J. & Wright, P.C. (2011) Effect of temperature on the substrate utilisation profiles of microbial communities in different sewer sediment deposits. Environmental Technology 32(1-2), 133-144.

Deines, P., Sekar, R., Husband, P.S., Boxall, J.B., Osborn, A.M. & Biggs, C.A. (2010) A new coupon design for simultaneous analysis of in situ microbial biofilm formation and community structure in drinking water distribution systems. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 87, 749-56.

Deines, P., Sekar, R., Jensen, H.S., Tait, S., Boxall, J.B., Osborn, A.M. & Biggs, C.A. (2010) MUWS (Microbiology in Urban Water Systems) – an interdisciplinary approach to study microbial communities in urban water systems. Drinking Water Engineering and Science 3, 43-64.

Deines, P., Wooller, M.J. & Grey, J. (2009) Unravelling complexities in benthic food webs using a dual stable isotope (hydrogen and carbon) approach. Freshwater Biology 54, 2243-2251.

Deines, P., Matz, C. & Jürgens, K. (2009) Toxicity of violacein-producing bacteria fed to bacterivorous freshwater plankton. Limnology and Oceanography 54(4), 1343-1352.

Deines, P., Bodelier, P.L.E. & Eller, G. (2007) Methane-derived carbon flows through methane- oxidizing bacteria to higher trophic levels in aquatic systems. Environmental Microbiology 9(5), 1126-1134.

Deines, P., Grey, J., Richnow, H.-H. & Eller, G. (2007) Linking larval chironomids to methane: seasonal variation of the microbial methane cycle and chironomid d13C. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 46, 273-282.

Eller, G., Deines, P. & Krüger, M. (2007) Possible sources of methane-derived carbon for chironomid larvae. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 46, 283-293.

Cordes, E.E., Bergquist, D.C., Predmore, B.L., Jones, C., Deines, P., Telesnicki, G. & Fisher, C.R. (2006) Alternate unstable states: convergent paths of succession in hydrocarbon-seep tubeworm-associated communities. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 339, 159-176.

Deines, P. & Grey, J. (2006) Site-specific methane production and subsequent midge mediation within Esthwaite Water, UK. Archiv für Hydrobiologie 167, 317-334.

Grey, J. & Deines, P. (2005) Differential assimilation of methanotrophic and chemoautotrophic bacteria by lake chironomid larvae. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 40, 61-66.

Eller, G., Deines, P., Grey, J., Richnow, H.-H. & Krüger, M. (2005) Methane cycling in lake sediments and its influence on chironomid larval d13C. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 54, 339-350.

Matz, C., Deines, P., Boenigk, J., Arndt, H., Eberl, L., Kjelleberg, S. & Jürgens, K. (2004) Impact of violacein producing bacteria on survival and feeding of bacterivorous nanoflagellates. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 70, 1593-1599.

Matz, C., Deines, P. & Jürgens, K. (2002) Phenotypic variation in Pseudomonas sp. CM10 determines microcolony formation and survival under protozoan grazing. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 39, 57-65.

Peter Deines