Danny Ionescu

033082 69969

Alte Fischerhütte 2, OT Neuglobsow, 16775 Stechlin


OMICS approaches

  • Metagenomics and metatranscriptomics – data generation and analysis using dedicated bioinformatic tools.

Single cell approaches

  • Single cell genomes. Low biomass transcriptomics
  • Trained nanoSIMS (nanoscale Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer) operator; Experience in experimental design and analysis of biological and geological samples.

Microbial ecology:

  • Molecular community analysis: High throughput sequencing; Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH, CARD-FISH); Fingerprinting methods (ARISA, DGGE);
  • Microscopy (Light and fluorescence).
  • Microsensors: manufacturing, measurements and data analysis

Analytical methods:

  • Multivariate statistics for ecological studies; Genomic and metagenomics analysis (assembly, binning, annotation); Gene expression statistics (differential expression in transcriptomes).

Additional experience:

  • Stable and radio isotope work for biogeochemistry and molecular biology
  • Fatty acid profiling - GC-MS
  • Membrane Inlet Mass Spectrometry
  • Underwater work: Certified and experienced scientific diver: Certifications: Advanced European Scientific Diver; American Academy of Underwater Sciences Scientific Diver – certified for mixed gases and depth up to 100 m.
  • On-board sampling (marine and limnic)
  • Boat driving license (Israeli level 30: motor boats under 24 m and 500 hp)


2005 2009 PhD: Microbial Ecology (Environmental studies), The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

         Thesis subject: Cyanobacterial Biogeography and Nitrogen Fixation: Lessons from environmental and model organisms. Thesis supervisor: Prof. Aharon Oren

2003 2005 MSc: Microbial Ecology (Environmental studies), The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

         Thesis subject: Characterization of an endoevaporitic microbial community in the Eilat salterns by fatty acid analysis and stable isotope labeling. Thesis supervisor: Prof. Aharon Oren (in collaboration with Dr. Andre Lipski - University of Osnabrück)

2000 2003 BSc: Marine sciences and marine environmental sciences, The Ruppin Academic Center


Academic Employment

2014 – Postdoctorate at the Leibniz Institute for Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Stechlin / Berlin

  • Effect of land-use on composition and dispersion of organisms in between kettle-holes over a large area (>1000 km­2)
  • Genomics and evolution of aquatic microorganisms
  • Methane formation in oxic water columns
  • Analysis of decade long community data from 8 German lakes
  • Development of new reactors for the study of particulate organic matter
  • Microbial activity on particles, in-situ measurements and transcriptomic analysis of individual particles


2009 – 2013 Postdoctorate at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Bremen.

  • Cell-mineral interaction in microbial mats (iron oxidation, iron reduction, calcification)
  • Biogeochemistry of underwater freshwater springs in the Dead Sea
  • Particle-associated bacteria
  • Development of new reactors for the study of particulate organic matter



2008 Best Poster Award – ISME12, Cairns, Australia

2006 The Alexandra Poljakoff award for exceptional Ph.D. students in the department of Plant and Environmental Sciences

2003 Best Poster Award – The annual meeting of the Israeli Society of Mass Spectrometry, Weizmann Institute, Israel



2017  BMBF-BIBS project – 375K Euro addition to the original  BIBS budget

2007/8 Minerva Short Term competitive grant to fund research in the lab of Prof. Wolfgang Hess, University of Freiburg, Germany, as visiting scientist

2006     The NASA Planetary Biology Internship (PBI) program (advisor Prof. Jonathan Trent)



Activity in third party funded projects


2016-        BMBF funding – Bridging in Biodiversity Studies

2014-2016 DFG- Project Aquameth

2009-2012 DFG – FOR571 Geobiology of organo- and biofilms


Teaching Experience

2015-2016 Workshop on metagenomic-bioinformatics for students and senior scientists at IGB; from sequencing, through assembly to genome annotation.

2014-2017 Intensive yearly courses (“Blockkurse”) in Aquatic Microbial Ecology for students of Potsdam University, and Osnabrück University.

2013 Lecturer in the biogeochemistry course of the marine microbiology graduate school of the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology (MarMic)

20072009 Lecturer at the Ruppin Academic Center, Israel (The program for marine sciences and marine environmental sciences)

  • Extremophiles – molecular and physiological adaptations of extremophiles and their potential use in biotechnology

20042009 Teaching assistant at the Ruppin Academic Center, Israel (The program for marine sciences and marine environmental sciences)

  • Introductory microbiology (3rd year students)
  • Marine microbiology (3rd year students)
  • Introduction to the marine environment – research projects (2nd year students)
  • From a cell to an organism (1st year students)
  • Project leader in year-long core-projects for marine biotechnology students.

20062009 Project leader in a marine microbiology course in Eilat (Israel) for graduate students from the University of Osnabrück (Germany). Course organizers: Prof. Aharon Oren and Prof. Karlheinz Altendorf

20062009 Teaching Assistant in the IUI “marine microbiology” course in Eilat. Course organizers: Prof. Anton Post, Prof. Shimshon Belkin and Prof. Aharon Oren

Graduate-Student Supervision

PhD students

2010-2014 Dr. Stefan Häusler, Main PhD Supervisor (Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology)

2011-2015 Dr. Camille Thomas, PhD co-supervisor (University of Geneva)

MSc students

2012-2013 Mrs. Lisa Schüller, MSc supervisor (University of Hannover)

2012-2013 Mrs. Bettina Buchmann, MSc supervisor (University of Oldenburg)

2012-2013 Mrs. Folasade Adeboyejo, MSc supervisor (ZMT)

2012-2013 Mrs. Beatriz Noriega, MSc co-supervisor (Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology)

2010-2011 Mrs. Svenja Spitzer, MSc co-supervisor (Göttingen University)


Media Coverage

My research leading to the discovery of abundant microbial life in and around underwater springs in the Dead Sea was extensively covered by Israeli, German and international media (CNN, Fox, BBC, RAI-TV, National Geographic, Israel Channel 2 and others).

Official Max Planck Institute press release



Documentary movies

“From deep Valley to Mountain High”, Austria, 2010


(DVD available upon request)  


Documentary movie on the Dead Sea rift valley for Japanese TV

Aired on NHK Premium August 2013, Produced by Nihon Denpa News co., LTD

(DVD available upon request)  


Organization of workshops

2012 Current research on the Dead Sea – Workshop held at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen.


Editorial and reviewer activity

Editor: Scientific Reports

Reviewer: Microbial Ecology, Geobiology, Geomicrobiology, Scientific Reports, PLoS One, FEMS Microbiology Ecology, Extremophiles, Limnology and Oceanography, Regional Environmental Change, Microbiology Open, Environmental Science and Pollution Research (and others)




Bridging in Biodiversity Science (BIBS)

BIBS is a BMBF project for biodiversity data collection and synthesis in Germany
Contact person
Mark Gessner
Hans-Peter Grossart
(Dept. 2) Ecosystem Research
(Dept. 3) Experimental Limnology





Jan F. Hartmann; Amanda Schiller; Torben Gentz; Markus Greule; Hans-Peter Grossart; Danny Ionescu; Frank Keppler; Karla Martinez-Cruz; Armando Sepulveda-Jauregui; Margot Isenbeck-Schröter

Real time measurement of concentration and d13C-CH4 in water

Procedia Earth and Planetary Science. - 17(2017), S. 460-463


Mina Bizic-Ionescu; Danny Ionescu

Crossing the freshwater/saline barrier: a phylogenetic analysis of bacteria inhabiting both freshwater and marine ecosystems

Aquatic microbial ecology and biogeochemistry /P. M. Glibert ; T. M. Kana (eds.). - Cham: Springer International Publ., 2016. - S. 35-44

Jan-Peter Duda; Martin J. van Kranendonk; Volker Thiel; Danny Ionescu; Harald Strauss; Nadine Schäfer; Joachim Reitner

A rare glimpse of Paleoarchean life

PLoS One. - 11(2016)1, e0147629




Danny Ionescu; Christian Siebert; Luos Polerecky; Yaniv Y. Munwes; Christian Lott; Stefan Häusler; Mina Bizic-Ionescu; Christian Quast; Jörg Peplies; Frank Oliver Glöckner; Albam Ramette; Tino Rödiger; Thorsten Dittmar; Aharon Oren; Stefan Geyer; Hans-Joachim Stärk; Martin Sauter; Tobias Licha; Jonathan B. Laronne; Dirk de Beer

Microbial and chemical characterization of underwater fresh water springs in the Dead Sea

PLoS One. - 7(2012)6, e38319

Complete publication list

(# I am the corresponding author)

Bižić#, M., Klintzsch#, T., Ionescu#, D., Hindiyeh, M., Y., Günthel, M., Muro-Pastor, A., M., Keppler, F., Grossart, H-P. (2020) Aquatic and terrestrial Cyanobacteria produce methane. Science Advances. 6, 3: eaax5343, doi:10.1126/sciadv.aax5343; # Authors contributed equally to the manuscript.

Fasching, C., Akotoye, C., Bižić, M., Fonvielle, J., Ionescu, D., Mathavarajah, S., Zoccarato, L., Walsh, D. A., Grossart, H-P., Xenopoulos, M. A. (2020) Linking stream microbial community function to dissolved organic matter and inorganic. Limnology and Oceanography 65, 2020, S71–S87.  https://doi.org/10.1002/lno.11356

Schorn, S., Salman-Carvalho, V., Littmann, S., Ionescu, D., Grossart, H-P., Cypionka, H. (2019) Cell architecture of the giant sulfur bacterium Achromatium oxaliferum: Extra-cytoplasmic localization of calcium carbonate bodies, FEMS Microbiology Ecology, in press

Günthel, M., Donis, D., Kirillin, G., Ionescu, D., Bizic, M., McGinnis, D., F., Grossart, H-P., Tang, K. Contribution of oxic methane production to surface methane emission in lakes – local and global importance Nature Communications, 10, 5497 (2019) doi:10.1038/s41467-019-13320-0

Munwes, Y.Y., Geyer, S., Katoshevski, D., Ionescu, D., Licha, T., Lott, C., Laronne, J.B., Siebert, C. (2019) Discharge estimation of submarine springs in the Dead Sea based on velocity or density measurements in proximity to the water surface. Hydrological. Processes, DOI: 10.1002/hyp.13598

Bižić-Ionescu, M., Ionescu, D.,& Grossart, H.-P. (2018) Organic particles: heterogeneous hubs for microbial interactions in aquatic ecosystems.  Front Microbiol. 2018; 9: 2569. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.02569

Cuadrat, R.C.R., Ionescu, D., Davila, A.M.R., Grossart, H-P. (2018) Recovering genomics clusters of secondary metabolites from lakes using genome-resolved metagenomics. Front. Microbiol, 9, 251 doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.00251

Hartmann J.F., Gentz T., Schiller A., Greule M., Grossart H-P., Ionescu D., Keppler F., Martinez-Cruz K., Sepulveda-Jauregui A., Isenbeck-Schröter M. (2018) A fast and sensitive method for the continuous in-situ determination of dissolved methane and its δ13C-isotope ratio in surface waters. Limnol. Oceanogr. Methods. 16: 273-285

# Ionescu, D., Bizic-Ionescu, M., De Maio, N., Cypionka, H. & Grossart, H.-P. Community-like genome in single cells of the sulfur bacterium Achromatium oxaliferum. Nat. Commun. 8, 455 (2017).

Hartmann, J.F., Schiller, A., Gentz, T., Greule, M., Grossart, H-P., Ionescu, D., Keppler, F., Martinez-Cruz, K., Sepulveda-Jauregui, A., Isenbeck-Schröter, M. (2017) Real Time Measurement of Concentration and δ 13 C-CH4 in Water, Procedia Earth and Planetary Science 17:460-463

Heim, C., Quéric, N-V., Ionescu, D., Schäfer, N., Reitner, J., Frutexites-like structures formed by iron oxidizing biofilms in the continental subsurface of the Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory, Sweden, PLoS ONE 12 (5), e0177542                 

Tang, K.W., McGinnis, D., F., Ionescu, D., Grossart H-P., (2016) Methane Production in Oxic Lake Waters Potentially Increases Aquatic Methane Flux to Air. Environ Sci Technol Lett, 3:227–233 (Awarded of ESTL best papers for 2016)

# Hubalek, V., Wu, X., Eiler, A., Buck, M., Heim,C., Dopson, M., Bertilsson, S., Ionescu, D. (2016) Connectivity to the surface determines diversity patterns in subsurface aquifers of the Fennoscandian shield. ISMEJ, 10:2447-2458. doi:10.1038/ismej.2016.36

Duda, J-P., Van Kranendonk, M.J., Thiel, V., Ionescu, D., Strauss, H., Schäfer, N., Reitner, J. (2016) A Rare Glimpse of Paleoarchean Life: Geobiology of an Exceptionally Preserved Microbial Mat Facies from the 3.4 Ga Strelley Pool Formation, Western Australia. PLoS ONE 11(1): e0147629. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0147629

# Ionescu, D., Bizic-Ionescu, M., Khalili, A, Malekmohammadi, R., Morad M., R., de Beer, D., Grossart, H-P. (2015) A new tool for long-term studies of POM-bacteria interactions: overcoming the century-old Bottle Effect. Sci Rep, 5: Article 14706. doi:10.1038/srep14706

Thomas, C., Ionescu, D., Ariztegui, D., and the DSDDP Scientific Team. (2015) Impact of paleoclimate on the distribution of microbial communities in the subsurface sediment of the Dead Sea. Geobiology, 13:546-561. doi: 10.1111/gbi.12151

Raanan, H., Felde, J. M. N. L. V., Peth, S., Drahorad, S., Ionescu, D., Eshkol, G., Treves, H., Felix-Henningsen, P., Berkowicz, S. M, Keren, N., Horn, R., Hagemann, M., Kaplan, A. (2015) 3D structure and cyanobacterial activity within a desert biological soil crust, Environ Microbiol, 18:372-383

Heim, C., Simon, K., Ionescu, D., Reimer, A., De Beer, D., Quéric, N.V., Reitner, J., Thiel. V. (2015) Assessing the utility of trace and rare earth elements as biosignatures in microbial iron oxyhydroxides. Front Earth Sci, 3:6. doi: 10.3389/feart.2015.00006

# Ionescu, D., Reimer, A., Zippel, B., Spring, S., Schneider, D., Spitzer, S., Brinkmann, N., de Beer, D., Reitner, J., Arp, G (2015). Calcium dynamics in microbialite-forming exopolymer-rich mats on the atoll of Kiritimati, Republic of Kiribati, Central Pacific Geobiology, 13:170-180

Leefmann, T., Heim, C., Lausmaa, J., Sjövall, P., Ionescu, D., Reitner, J., Thiel, V. (2015) An imaging mass spectrometry study on the formation of conditioning films and biofilms in the subsurface (Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory, SE Sweden). Geomicrob, 32:197-206

# Ionescu, D., Heim, C., Polerecky, L., Ramette, A., Haeusler, S., Bizic-Ionescu, M., Thiel, V., de Beer, D. (2015) Diversity of iron oxidizing and reducing bacteria in bioreactors set in the Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory, Geomicrob, 32:207-220

# Ionescu, D., Polerecky, L., Heim, C., Thiel, V., Reitner, J., de Beer, D. (2015) Biotic and abiotic iron precipitation in iron mineralization using the Äspö HRL as a model system. Geomicrob, 32:221-230

Spitzer, S., Brinkmann, N., Reimer, A., Ionescu, D., Friedl, T., de Beer, D., Arp, G. (2015) Effect of variable PCO2 on Ca2+removal and potential calcification of cyanobacterial biofilms - an experimental microsensor study. Geomicrob, 32:304-315

Bizic-Ionescu, M., Zeder, M., Ionescu, D., Orlic, S., Fuchs B., M., Grossart H-P., Amann R. (2015) Comparison of bacterial communities on limnic versus coastal marine particles reveals profound differences in colonization. Environ Microbiol, 17:3500-3514. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.12466

# Häusler, S., Holtappel, M., de Beer, D., Ionescu, D. (2014) Activity of sulfur reducing and sulfide oxidizing bacteria in underwater freshwater springs in the Dead Sea and surrounding sediments. FEMS Microbiol Ecol, 90: 956-969.

Thomas, C., Ionescu, D., Ariztegui, D., and the DSDDP Scientific Team. (2014) Archaeal populations in two distinct sedimentary facies of the subsurface of the Dead Sea. Mar Genom, 17:53-62. doi: 10.1016/j.margen.2014.09.001

# Ionescu, D., Buchmann B, Heim C, Häusler S, de Beer D and Polerecky L (2014) Oxygenic photosynthesis as a protection mechanism for cyanobacteria against iron-encrustation in environments with high Fe2+ concentrations. Front. Microbiol. 5:459. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00459

# Häusler, S., Noriega, B., Polerecky, L., Meyer, V., de Beer, D., Ionescu, D. (2014) Microenvironemts of reduced salinity allow for the formation of biofilms on the Dead Sea sediment. Environ Microb R, 6:152-158. doi:10.1111/1758-2229.12140

# Häusler, S., Weber, M., de Beer, D., Ionescu, D. (2014) Salinity adaptation of oxygenic phototrophs to salinity gradients formed by underwater freshwater springs in the Dead Sea. Extremophiles, 18:1085-1094 DOI :10.1007/s00792-014-0686-1

Siebert, C., Rödiger, T., Mallast, U., Gräbe, A., Guttman, J., Laronne, J.B., Storz-Peretz, Y., Greenman, A., Salameh, E., Al-Raggad, M., Vachtman, D., Ben Zvi, A., Ionescu, D., Brenner, A., Merz, R., Geyer, S. (2014) Challenges to estimate surface- and groundwater flow in arid regions: The Dead Sea catchment, Science of the Total Environment, 485–486: 828–841, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.04.010

Heim, C., Quéric, N. V., Ionescu, D., Simon, K., Thiel, V. (2013) Chemolithotrophic microbial mats in an open pond in the continental subsurface – implications for microbial biosignatures. Göttingen Contributions to Geosceicnes, 77:175-188

# Ionescu, D., Siebert, C., Polerecky, L., Munwes,Y.Y., Lott, C., Häusler S., Bizic-Ionescu, M., Quast, C., Jörg Peplies, J., Glöckner, FO., Ramette, A., Rödiger, T., Dittmar, T., Oren, A., Geyer, S., Stärk, HS., Sauter, M., Licha, T., Laronne, B. J., de Beer, D. (2012) Microbial and chemical characterization of underwater fresh water springs in the Dead Sea. PloS One http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0038319

Rao, A. M. F., Polerecky, L., Ionescu, D., Meysman, F.J.R., de Beer, D (2012) The influence of porewater advection, benthic photosynthesis, and respiration on calcium carbonate dynamics in reef sand. Limnol Oceano, 57:809-825

Ionescu, D., Voss, B., Oren, A., Hess, W.R., Muro-Pastor, A. M. (2010) Heterocyst-Specific Transcription of NsiR1, a Non-Coding RNA Encoded in a Tandem Array of Direct Repeats in Cyanobacteria. J Mol Biol, 398:177–188

# Ionescu, D., Malkawi, H., Hindiyeh, M., Oren, A. (2010) Biogeography of thermophilic cyanobacteria - insights from the Zerka Ma'in hot springs (Jordan). FEMS Microbiol Ecol, 72:103-113

Oren, A., Ionescu, D., Hindiyeh, M.Y., Malkawi, H.I. (2009) Morphological, phylogenetic and physiological diversity of cyanobacteria in the hot springs of Zerka Ma’in, Jordan. In: Krupp F, Musselman LJ, Kotb MMA, Weidig I (Eds) Environment, Biodiversity and Conservation in the Middle East. Proceedings of the First Middle Eastern Biodiversity Congress, Aqaba, Jordan, 20–23 October 2008. BioRisk, 3:69–82. doi: 10.3897/biorisk.3.29

Ionescu, D., Oren, A., Levitan, O., Hindiyeh, M., Malkawi, H., and Berman-Frank, I. (2009) The cyanobacterial community of the Zerka Ma’in hot springs, Jordan: morphological and molecular diversity and nitrogen fixation. Algological Studies, 130:129-144

# Ionescu, D., Penno, S., Haimovich, M., Rihtman, B., Goodwin, A., Schwartz, D., Hazanov, L., Chernihovsky, M., Post, A.F., Oren, A. (2009) Archaea in the Gulf of Aqaba. FEMS Microbiol Ecol, 69:425-38

Oren, A., Bina, D., Ionescu, D., Prášil, O., Reháková, K., Schumann, R., Sørensen, K., Warkentin, M., Woelfel, J., and Zapome lová, E. (2009) Saltern evaporation ponds as model systems for the study of microbial processes under hypersaline conditions – an interdisciplinary study of the salterns of Eilat, Israel, pp. 20-29 in: T.D. Lekkas and N.A. Korovessis (eds.), Proceedings of the 2nd Conference on the Ecological Importance of Solar Saltworks, Merida, Mexico.

Oren, A., Ionescu, D., and Hindiyeh M. 2008. Microalgae and cyanobacteria of the Dead Sea and its surrounding springs. Israeli Journal of Plant Science, 56:1-13

Elevi Bardavid, R., Ionescu, D., Oren, A., Rainey, F.A., Hollen, B.J., Bagaley, D.R., Small, A.M., and McKay, C.M. (2007) Selective enrichment, isolation and molecular detection of Salinibacter and related extremely halophilic Bacteria from hypersaline environments. Hydrobiologia, 576:3-13

Ionescu, D., Lipski, A., Altendorf, K., and Oren, A. (2007) Characterization of the endoevaporitic microbial communities in a hypersaline gypsum crust by fatty acid analysis. Hydrobiologia, 576:15-26

Oren, A., Ionescu, D., Lipski, A., and Altendorf, K. (2005) Fatty acid analysis of a layered community of cyanobacteria developing in a hypersaline gypsum crust. Algological Studies, 117:339-347


Book Chapters

Bižić#, M., Ionescu#, D (2019) The Methane Paradox, Bacteria In eLS, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd (Ed.), In press

Ionescu, D. Bizic, M (2019) Giant Bacteria In eLS, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd (Ed.), doi:10.1002/9780470015902.a0020371.pub2

Bizic-Ionescu, M., Ionescu, D. Günthel, M., Tang, K., Grossart, H-P. (2018) Oxic methane cycling - new Evidence for methane formation in oxic lake water. In: Stams, M.J.A., Sousa, D.Z. (ed), Handbook of Hydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology Series. Biogenesis of Hydrocarbons. Springer International. In press

Bizic-Ionescu, M., Ionescu D. (2015) Crossing the border - The freshwater/salt saline barrier: A phylogenetic analysis of bacteria inhabiting both freshwater and marine ecosystems. In: Glibert, P.M., Kanna, T.M. (ed), Aquatic Nutrient Biogeochemistry and Microbial Ecology: A Dual Perspective. Springer International, pp:35-44.

Ionescu D, Overholt W, Lynch M, Neufeld J, Naqib A, Green S. 2015. Microbial Community Analysis Using High-Throughput Amplicon Sequencing, p 2.4.2-1-2.4.2-26. In Yates M, Nakatsu C, Miller R, Pillai S (ed), Manual of Environmental Microbiology, 4th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818821.ch2.4.2.

Ionescu, D., Oren, A., Hindiyeh, M.Y., and Malkawi, H.I. (2007) The thermophilic cyanobacteria of the Zerka Ma'in thermal springs in Jordan. In: Seckbach, J. (ed.), Algae in extreme environments. Springer, Dordrecht, pp: 411-424.


Popular Science

Ionescu, D., Haeusler, S., Siebert, C., Noriega-Ortega, B., (2013) Springs of life in the Dead Sea (in Hebrew), in Starinsky A., Melach Ha’aretz 7 – A series on Dead Sea research, Magnes, Jerusalem, Israel. pp 15-35.

Share page