Sonia-Estelle Tarnawski

Interactions between microorganisms and their environment (disturbed or not) have consequences on equilibrium of the overall functioning of soils, of water environments, and by extension of the whole ecosphere.

In this way, my researches are related to the characterization of microbial communities and their roles in ecosystems functioning.

My professional experiences mainly led me to study plant-soil-microorganism interactions and bacterial implication in biogeochemical cycles: i) during my PhD, with a study on the influence of increasing atmospheric pCO2 on bacterial communities associated with two perennial plants (Molinia coerulea and Lolium perenne) - ii) during my post-doc with studies on bacterial communities associated to different cultivars of Lolium perenne, extended to the soil food web – and iii) in my work as research fellow, on diversity and distribution of anammox bacteria in terrestrial ecosystems, and their contribution to N2 production.

Currently in the Laboratory of Soil Biology, I extend this vision by including diversity and functional roles of soil protozoa.

Scientific expertises : Microbial ecology; Bacteriology; Soil biology; Cellular biology; Plant physiology

Technical expertises : Molecular biology analyses, e.g. DNA/RNA extractions, PCR/qPCR, RFLP, DGGE (community barcoding), FISH, cloning-sequencing, pyrosequencing; Bacteriology analyses




Ph.D. in Biology / Microbial ecology - University of Neuchâtel (Unine), CH


D.E.A., Master’s degree of research in forest biology - Henri Poincaré University (UHP), FR


Maîtrise, Master’s degree in Plant’s Cellular Biology and Physiology - UHP, FR


Licence , Bachelor degree in Cellular Biology and Physiology - UHP, FR


DEUG , 2-years University degree in life sciences - UHP, FR



Since March 2012 to 2013

Scientific and technique collaborator, Laboratory of Soil biology, Unine , CH

Since June 2011

Private professor , Institut de soutien scolaire arc lémanique - Lausanne, CH

2011 - 2012

Research fellow, Laboratory of Microbiology - Unine , CH

2008 - 2009

Master assistant / Research fellow, Laboratory of Microbiology - Unine , CH

2004 - July 2008

Postdoctoral fellow / Master assistant, Laboratory of Microbiology - Unine , CH


Publication record

Humbert S, Zopfi J and Tarnawski S (first online publication, may 2012). Abundance of anammox bacteria in different wetland soils. Environmental Microbiology Reports.

Humbert S, Tarnawski S, Fromin N, Mallet MP, Aragno M and Zopfi J (2010). Molecular detection of anammox bacteria in terrestrial ecosystems: distribution and diversity. The ISME journal, 4(3): 450-454.

Humbert Sylvia, Tarnawski S, Conen F, Seth B, Bagnoud A, Mallet M-P, Fromin N, Aragno M, Zopfi J (2009). Terrestrial anammox bacteria: distribution, diversity and activity. Bulletin de la Société Suisse de Pédologie, 30: 104-108.

Milleret R, Le Bayon RC, Tarnawski S, Boivin P, Gobat J-M (2009). Earthworm, mycorrhiza and root interactions: their effects on some chemical, physical and biological soil properties. Bulletin de la Société Suisse de Pédologie, 30: 81-83.

Jossi M, Hamelin J, Tarnawski S, Gillet F, Kohler F, Aragno M, and Fromin N (2006). How does elevated pCO 2 modify total and metabolically active bacterial communities in the rhizosphere of two perennial grasses grown in field conditions? FEMS Microbiology and Ecology, 55: 339-350.

Tarnawski S, Aragno M (2006). The influence of elevated pCO 2 on functions and diversity of rhizosphere and soil bacterial communities. Chapter 22 in: Noesberger J, Long SP, Norby RJ, Stitt M Hendrey GH, Blum H (Eds): Managed Ecosystems and CO 2 - Case Studies, Processes and Perspectives. Series: Ecological Studies, Vol. 187, Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Tarnawski S, Hamelin J, Jossi M, Aragno M, Fromin N (2006). Phenotypic structure of Pseudomonas populations is altered under elevated pCO 2 in the rhizosphere of perennial grasses. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 38(6): 1193-1201.

Nguyen-Queyrens A, Tarnawski S, Ceschia E (2005). Growth and phosphorus productivity of non-mycorrhizal Pinus pinaster seedlings: Comparison of three populations and seven full-sub families within a population. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, 20: 196-205.

Fromin N, Tarnawski S, Roussel-Delif L, Hamelin J, Baggs EM, Aragno M (2005). Nitrogen fertilisation level alters the response of nitrate-dissimilating Pseudomonas spp. in the rhizosphere of Lolium perenne grown under elevated pCO 2 (Swiss FACE). Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 37: 1962-1965.

Roussel-Delif L, Tarnawski S, Hamelin J, Philippot L, Aragno M and Fromin N (2005). Frequency and diversity of nitrate reductase genes among nitrate-dissimilating Pseudomonas in the rhizosphere of perennial grasses grown in field conditions. Microbial Ecology, 49: 63-72.

Tarnawski S, Hamelin J, Locatelli L, Aragno M and Fromin N (2003). Examination of Gould's modified S1 (mS1) selective medium and Angle's non-selective medium for describing the diversity of Pseudomonas spp. in soil and root environments. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 45(2): 97-104.

Aragno M, Tarnawski S (2002). Microbial communities in the rhizosphere: structures and processes. Bulletin de la Société Suisse de Pédologie, 26: 21-25.

Aragno M, Tarnawski S (2002). La plante: un intermédiaire essentiel entre le CO 2 atmosphérique et le carbone du sol. Bulletin de la Société Suisse de Pédologie , 26: 5-9.

Hamelin J, Fromin N, Teyssier-Cuvelle S, Tarnawski S and Aragno M (2002). nifH gene diversity in the bacterial community associated with the rhizosphere of Molinia coerulea, an oligonitrophilic perennial grass. Environmental Microbiology, 4(8): 477-481.

Fromin N, Hamelin J, Tarnawski S, Roesti D, Jourdain-Miserez K, Forestier N, Teyssier-Cuvelle S, Gillet F, Aragno M and Rossi P (2002). Statistical analysis of denaturing gel electrophoresis (DGE) fingerprinting patterns. Environmental Microbiology, 4(11): 634-643.

Locatelli L, Tarnawski S, Hamelin J, Rossi P, Aragno M and Fromin N (2002). A specific PCR amplification of 16S & 16S-23S rDNA spacer for the genus Pseudomonas. Systematic & Applied Microbiology, 25: 220-227.