Bacteria in the Ocean: Merging isolation and “omics” approaches

29 Març 2019
Sala d'Actes
Impartida per: 
Dra. Silvia G. Acinas
Departament de Biologia Marina i Oceanografia, Institut de Ciències del Mar


                Bacteria and Archaea are relevant components of the ocean’s food networks; they are key players in all marine biogeochemical cycles. They are accounting with 1029 cells in the global ocean but only few thousands of species of marine prokaryotes have been described to date despite that there is estimation of about 1012 prokaryotes species in our planet. To fully understand which are the ecologically relevant microorganisms in the ocean, a combination of different approaches is needed to fully cover the whole spectrum of microbial diversity targeting both, the highly abundant and rare microbial taxa. To that end, microbial metagenomics are crucial to enable to reconstruct microbial genomes, what it is called Metagenomic-Assembled Genomes (MAGs). In parallel, single cell genomes through the analyses of Single Amplified Genomes (SAGs) is an alternative approach to target uncultured abundant individual genomes without cultivation. Finally, cultured isolates are also important to fully cover the whole spectrum of microbial diversity targeting the rare biosphere taxa and to perform physiological experimental analyses. During this talk I will explain through different research projects how merging isolation and omics approaches would be helpful to answer important questions in microbial ecology, how MAGs and SAGs are used to reconstruct and describe novel and uncultured microbial species, and why isolates and genes from microbial communities represent a genetic resource for blue technology


Brief biography

                Silvia G. Acinas is a Scientific Titular of the Spanish National Research Council at the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM) in Barcelona since 2017. Degree in Biological Sciences from University of Murcia (1984) and doctoral thesis at University of Miguel-Hernández in Alicante in 1999. She did the postdoctoral training in molecular microbial ecology and genomics mostly in US (1999-2005) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Also she spent another postdoc at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) at Centre for Estuarine and Marine Ecology in Yerseke in 2006. She was a research scientist at Department of Marine Biology and Oceanography at the ICM, with a Ramon and Cajal program (2007-2012). Since 2009, she is one the coordinators of the Tara Oceans global expedition. She is also leading Deep Malaspinomics, a large scale sequencing project funded by DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI´s) Community Sequencing Program within the context of Malaspina 2010 global expedition to explore the biogeography and functional capacities of deep ocean microbial communities. Since 2015 she is leading a project funded by the Fundación BBVA (Becas Leonardo) with the main goal to analyze the diversity and genomics of bacteria capable of detoxification of methylmercury in marine ecosystems using omics approaches and culturing experimental analyses. In summary, she is a marine microbiologist with interest in ecology, genomics and evolution.