Despite the lack of sunlight and nutrients, many deep-sea environments are full of large coral reefs and sponge gardens.

The aim of this project is to understand how the metabolic capacity and versatility of symbiotic bacteria support the growth of corals and sponges in the deep sea. We perform expeditions to the Campos and Santos Basins, off the coast near Rio de Janeiro, to get unique samples of sponges and corals and use a range of molecular techniques to define the functional diversity of symbiotic bacteria. The expected outcome is a new understanding of how bacteria-host interactions have enabled marine organisms to survive and thrive in the depth of the ocean. 



Coastal microbial observatories

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.

Functional diversity and redundancy of marine communities

In this important project, we aim to define the assembly of microbial communities by functional properties rather than by the species. 

The dynamics of evolution: How horizontal gene transfer drives the....

We’re attempting to define the temporal dynamics of gene transfer and how it shapes the genetic composition of entire bacterial communities.