The oceans are teeming with microbial life, which impacts global biogeochemistry, climate and human health. “-Omics” methods enable us to identify “who is there” and their genetic potential, but understanding how these organisms interact in nature and how they affect biogeochemical processes remains a major open challenge. A crucial component of this puzzle, at the heart of the cycling of nutrients in the biosphere, is the coupling between organisms that fix carbon using solar energy (phytoplankton) and microbes that rely on organic carbon for energy and growth (heterotrophs). The diversity of microbial species and the richness of their metabolism make the problem of predicting how each pair of species will interact impossible to address using traditional approaches. This project will tackle this challenge through a tightly integrated combination of genome scale modeling and laboratory experiments, to identify genomic traits dictating how environmentally-relevant microbes interact. Our approach, will provide a critical stepping-stone towards predicting how marine microbial systems will evolve in a changing world.
Maya Britstein, Kumar Saurav, Roberta Teta, Gerardo Della Sala, Rinat Bar-Shalom, Nausicaa Stoppelli, Luca Zoccarato, Valeria Costantino, Laura Steindler. Identification and chemical characterization of N acyl-homoserine lactone quorum sensing signals across sponge species and time. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. (2017). doi:10.1093/femsec/fix182
Luca Zoccarato, Alberto Pallavicini, Federica Cerino, Serena Fonda Umani, Mauro Celussi. Water mass dynamics shape Ross Sea protist communities in mesopelagic and bathypelagic layers. Prog. Oceanogr. 149, 16–26 (2016).
Marina Monti, Luca Zoccarato, Serena Fonda Umani. Microzooplankton composition under the sea ice and in the open waters in Terra Nova Bay (Antarctica). Polar Biol. 1–11 (2016). doi:10.1007/s00300-016-2016-9
Luca Zoccarato, Mauro Celussi, Alberto Pallavicini, Serena Fonda Umani. Aurelia aurita Ephyrae Reshape a Coastal Microbial Community. Front. Microbiol. 7, 1–16 (2016).
Luca Zoccarato, Anna Malusà, Serena Fonda Umani. Major contribution of prokaryotes to carbon fluxes in the pelagic microbial food webs of the Mediterranean Sea. Adv. Oceanogr. Limnol. 7, 51–66 (2016).