Conserving Diversity


There is growing concern about the resilience of marine ecosystems. For example, corals, the foundation species of coral reefs, may not be able to acclimate or adapt to ongoing environmental changes. This has stimulated debates about how methods of assisted evolution could be used to help marine ecosystems to retain ecosystem services.

Discussion: The inoculation of bacterial communities or strains that can promote the resistance of hosts to stress. Which microbial symbionts influence the host phenotype/fitness (e.g., core microbes, specific strains absent in wild populations?)? At what scale should these measures be taken? And what are the precautions to be taken?

Discussion Questions

What can microbiology do for conservation? Bioremediation, probiotics, etc. to help conservation

Group members, moderator, note taker/presenter


  1. Spatio-temporal studies as baseline, so that the dynamics of microbial communities (bad and good guys) can be known.

  2. Importance of culturing and characterizing the different microbial symbionts for conservation purposes

  3. Identify potential bioindicators (potential good symbionts) to manipulate the host microbiome

  4. Structural work on the host (corals, sponges, etc.) might help to evaluate the impacts of a particular pollutant

  5. Short time series experiment in the lab, including T0 as the starting point.

  6. Probiotics can be an alternative from improving ecosystem health

  7. Global scale sampling (e.g. mangrove in the Atlantic coast from Mexico to southeast Brazil). Seagrass can be another example for probiotic studies

  8. Connectivity of mangrove species, microbial species related to these habitats, etc.

  9. Endophytes being transplanted into species undergoing decline on their distribution, population size, etc.

  10. The ability of establishing large laboratory experiments (manipulation) to more fully represent the effects of the environment


See end of No. 4