Research group

Ecology of Marine Microbes

Ecology of Marine Microbes

Studying the ecological and functional role of marine microorganisms


Modern marine microbial ecology started in the 1970s, when it was shown that microbes were very abundant and active in seawater. Nowadays, marine microbes are known to be responsible for about half of Earth's primary production, most of the respiration of the ocean and the sustainability of marine food webs, harboring a huge reservoir of taxonomic and functional biodiversity. The change of perspective has been spectacular and has given birth to the field of Microbial Oceanography to reflect the wide range of scales and methodological approaches used. The Ecology of Marine Microbes group integrates scientists from different disciplines and research topics, using complementary methods to address the ecological and functional role of marine microorganisms at different resolutions: from communities to species or ecotypes. Current interests are summarized in the following research lines: 1) Biodiversity and Biogeography, 2) Microbial Activities: from Single Cells to Biogeochemical Cycles, and 3) Genes and Genomes: Function and Evolution.

* Data from the last two years

Group members

Head of group (PI)

Senior Researcher

Postdoc Researcher

Postdoc Trainee

Predoc Trainee

Core facility Head


Most relevant information


    Grup de Recerca Consolidat 2017 SGR 01568 – AGAUR/Generalitat de Catalunya: DIFUMIC - Diversidad y función microbiana en sistemas acuáticos.

    Organization of the International discussion meeting “Single Cell Ecology”. The Royal Society.

    Coordination of the EU Innovative Training Network SINGEK (

    Landmark Paper Award 2018 of the Deep-Sea Biology Society (trienial award):
    Mestre M., Ruiz-González C., Logares R., Gasol J.M., Sala M.M. (2018) Sinking particles promote vertical connectivity in the ocean microbiome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America. 115(29): 6799-6807. doi:10.1073/pnas.1802470115

    Organization of the International Ramon Margalef Summer Colloquia (6th edition). ”Ecology through the omics lens”. July 2018.

    • Campo, Javier del; Massana, Ramon; Wegener-Parfrey, Laura;

      EukRef: Phylogenetic curation of ribosomal RNA to enhance understanding of eukaryotic diversity and distribution

      PLoS Biology 16(9): e2005849 (2018)
    • Mangot, Jean-François; Forn, Irene; Obiol, Aleix; Massana, Ramon;

      Constant abundances of ubiquitous uncultured protists in the open sea assessed by automated microscopy

      Environmental Microbiology 20(10): 3876-3889 (2018)
    • Mestre, Mireia; Ruiz-González, Clara; Logares, Ramiro; Duarte, Carlos M.; Gasol, Josep M.; Sala, M. Montserrat;

      Sinking particles promote vertical connectivity in the ocean microbiome

      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 115: E6799-E6807 (2018)
    • Sebastián, Marta; Auguet, Jean-Christophe; Restrepo-Ortiz, Claudia X.; Sala, M. Montserrat; Marrasé, Cèlia; Gasol, Josep M.;

      Deep ocean prokaryotic communities are remarkably malleable when facing long‐term starvation

      Environmental Microbiology 20(2): 713-723 (2018)
    • Villarino, Ernesto; Gasol, Josep M.; Salazar, Guillem; Acinas, Silvia G.; Estrada, Marta; Massana, Ramon; Logares, Ramiro; Giner, Caterina R.; Pernice, Massimo; Olivar, M. Pilar; Cuesta, José A.; Agustí, Susana; Duarte, Carlos M.; Chust, Guillem;

      Large-scale ocean connectivity and planktonic body size

      Nature Communications 9: 142 (2018)