From model organisms to ecosystems: scaling-up our understanding of host-microbe symbiosis in the sea
A publication entitled Host-associated microbiomes drive structure and function of marine ecosystems (PLoS Biology 2019) resulted from the workshop.
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.
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).