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Interactions between marine algae and bacteria

Activity Code: PEOPLE-2007-2-1.IEF
Coordinator:Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research


Trophic interactions between bacteria and unicellular algae in aquatic systems are well documented in the literature as the microbial loop plays a critical role in important processes as carbon flux and nutrient regeneration. In contrast, chemical interactions between bacteria and harmful phytoplankton and their potential impact on the production of biotoxins and population dynamics have received comparatively little attention. The scientific goal is to identify specific mechanisms of action involving allelochemicals in bacterial-algal interactions and their role in harmful algal bloom (HAB) ecology. The overall objective of the project is to explore whether or not HAB species can selectively promote the growth of bacteria, through the production of allelochemicals that may inhibit the killing of algicidal strains.

The project aims to determine

  • the antibiotic properties of allelochemicals using model algal-bacterial communities
  • whether bacteria affect gene expression and the production of allelochemicals,
  • whether bacteria sensitive to allelochemicals produce algicidal compounds, and
  • the nature of poorly characterized allelochemicals

Natural plankton communities and selected phytoplankton and bacteria cultures will be studied using a multidisciplinary approach i.e. physiological, chemical and molecular-based techniques. The project will contribute to enhance technological, scientific and professional skills of the applicant and facilitate the reintegration of full time research and the possibility to attain a professorship over a short time period.

Project Details:

Start Date: 01.03.2009
End Date:  31.05.2010
EU Contribution: 137,868 Euro
Total Costs: 137,868 Euro
Funding Scheme: Intra-European Fellowships (IEF)
Administrative Contact Person: Catherine Audebert,