Developing a Systems Level Understanding of how
Microbial Communities Assemble, Function and Evolve.
DRAWING BY O.X.C
Microbial Ecology and Evolution
One of the major challenges in biology is to understand how collectives –formed by the aggregation of individuals and species– function and evolve. We address this challenge in the context of microbial communities, which play a central role in the environment, industry and human health. Our challenge starts with the development of a systems-level understanding of what communities are: how to describe them in functional and quantitative terms, and how to predict their behavior. We focus on systems with a strong spatial structure, and in particular on those communities that assemble to decompose complex organic materials in the ocean. This class of systems allows us to study ecology at the micro-scale, establishing the connections between genetics, physiology and multi-cellular phenomena.