2018 Marine Microbiome Workshop

From model organisms to ecosystems: scaling-up our understanding of host-microbe symbiosis in the sea

December 3–8 2018
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Bocas del Toro Research Station, Panama

Participants from the 2018 workshop. From left to right. **FRONT ROW**: Jarrod Scott, Noelle Lucey, Allen Herre, Douglas Rasher, Raquel Peixoto, Rebecca Vega Thurber, Tiago Pereira, Jonathan Eisen. **MIDDLE ROW**: Benedict Yuen, Laetitia Wilkins, Matthieu Leray, Emilia Sogin, Lizzy Wilbanks, Emmett Duffy, Katherine Sharp. **BACK ROW**: David Coil, Aaron O’Dea, Jon Kaye, Luis Mejia, Robert Thacker. Not pictured: Rachel Collin, Harilaos Lessios, Jennifer McMillan,  Ross Robertson, William Wcislo.
Participants from the 2018 workshop. From left to right. FRONT ROW: Jarrod Scott, Noelle Lucey, Allen Herre, Douglas Rasher, Raquel Peixoto, Rebecca Vega Thurber, Tiago Pereira, Jonathan Eisen. MIDDLE ROW: Benedict Yuen, Laetitia Wilkins, Matthieu Leray, Emilia Sogin, Lizzy Wilbanks, Emmett Duffy, Katherine Sharp. BACK ROW: David Coil, Aaron O’Dea, Jon Kaye, Luis Mejia, Robert Thacker. Not pictured: Rachel Collin, Harilaos Lessios, Jennifer McMillan, Ross Robertson, William Wcislo.

Background

Here you will find information for a workshop we created and organized to explore the nature of host-microbiome associations in marine environments. The workshop was jointly funded by The Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation and The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. We hosted 25 researchers from 16 different institutions in Bocas del Toro, Panama, during the winter of 2018 for 5 days of presentations, discussions, and breakout sessions.

A publication entitled Host-associated microbiomes drive structure and function of marine ecosystems resulted from the workshop.

For an awesome write-up about the workshop, check out Laetitia GE Wilkins post on RCN for Evolution in Changing Seas

Motivation

Animals serve as ecosystems for a suite of bacteria, archaea, viruses and fungi with which they interact in various ways. These host-microbe interactions have played a fundamental role in the diversification, evolution and ecology of all animals on Earth. They may also play a crucial role for the future of biodiversity by mediating the effects of perturbations on individuals and communities of hosts. Considerable knowledge on the underpinnings of microbial symbiosis originates from integrative research programs on model systems (e.g., squid-vibrio, gutless worm), and there is an urgent need to understand if and how these concepts can be generalized across the tree of life.

During this workshop we summarized and synthesized the current state of our knowledge on the mechanisms and the role of animal-microbe interactions in the sea. As anthropogenic activities affect the dynamics of our oceans, we discussed how the field can become more unified and predictive. How do we go about understanding the role of environmental stress on host-microbe interactions and the future of marine communities?

The result of these discussions were summarized in a peer-reviewed manuscript (see above).