This project integrates a central theme of modern ecology - the relationship between biodiversity and functioning of communities - with the new biological paradigm of holobionts, where organisms are the entirety of the host plus its associated microbiome.
This project blends marine and microbial ecology, aiming for the first time to experimentally decouple effects of microbial diversity vs function on the performance of dominant marine holobionts, habitat-forming seaweeds.
We will characterize key microbial taxa and functions and their effects on seaweed performance, and how this is affected by environmental stress. The project aims to provide critical information and new tools for understanding and managing a major Australian ecosystem.
Our large-scale coastal microbial observatory program investigates the temporal and spatial dynamics of microbial communities in the water column. We observe sediments and coral, seaweeds, sponges and seagrasses.
In this important project, we aim to define the assembly of microbial communities by functional properties rather than by the species.
Despite the lack of sunlight and nutrients, many deep-sea environments are full of coral reefs and sponge gardens. We’re aiming to understand how the metabolic capacity and versatility of symbiotic bacteria support their growth.