The microbial component of the ocean comprises more than 80% of the water column’ biomass. The oceanic microbiome deploys numerous interactions and survival strategies. But none of the species belonging to the ocean microbiome lives totally isolated from the others, on the contrary, these associations are crucial for the balance of ecosystems: either beneficial for both organisms or, on the contrary, deadly for the host, as in the case of parasitism, all levels of interaction are possible between these two extremes.
Today, our understanding of this microbial component is mostly based on a limited set of model organisms. Nevertheless, the enormous amount of environmental meta-“omics” data over the past years has deepened the knowledge on the “functional units” of genomes, with an increasing number of genes coding for novel proteins, or even those whose function is still unknown. Grasping the genomic basis of the biological and geochemical capabilities of the marine organisms will allow us to improve our understanding of the functioning of marine ecosystems.
Exploring the adaptation of micro-eukaryotes to climate changes, unravel new genes’ function through experimental biology, seeking for markers of symbiotic and parasitic life-styles are some of the activities on our lab in quest of broadening our knowledge of the functional strategies deployed by the ocean microbiome.