Research Topic

Adaptive Strategies and Interactions of Marine Phytoplankton in the Contemporary Ocean: From Genes to Ecosystems

About this Research Topic

Phytoplankton, comprising of microalgae and cyanobacteria, is at the base of the food web upon which all the consumers in an aquatic ecosystem depend. Marine photosynthetic microorganisms have been evolving for millions of years leading to a large variety of structural (size, shape), metabolic and physiological adaptations to a wide range of environments, in close association with other planktonic assemblages. Some examples of these adaptations include the development of cell wall protective structures made of silica or carbonates, protection strategies via the symbiotic mutualism with other organisms, the formation of colonies, chemically mediated interactions and defense mechanisms, or combinations of autotrophic and mixotrophic metabolism expression depending on the environment.

The contemporary ocean is submitted to the continuous alteration of its physicochemical equilibrium by human activity. This has promoted rapid changes, ultimately affecting phytoplankton and its natural life cycle on an unprecedented temporal scale. Nutrients and novel contaminants, end up in the ocean provoking eutrophication, anoxic dead zones and changes in the life cycles of marine organisms including phytoplankton, its diversity and its interaction with other organisms. Today, we also know that more than 8 million tons of litter enter the ocean annually, turning into new substrates for native or alien species and acting as rapid vectors of contaminants and invasive species across the global ocean.
In this Research Topic, we address the diversity and adaptation of phytoplankton communities across time and environments, not only focused to the analysis of physiological adaptations but also understanding phytoplankton strategies, associations and interactions with fellow organisms or ‘lifeforms’ as viruses. This Research Topic would encompass research works related to:

• Effects of environmental changes on phytoplankton physiology and community structure
• Intra- and inter-kingdom interactions involving phytoplankton
• Phytoplankton diversity (genetic, morphological, physiological) and global patterns
• Phycosphere: close encounters of the “sea kind”
• Phytoplankton-pollutants interactions
• Phytoplankton allelopathy
• Harmful phytoplankton blooms
• Phytoplankton adaptations and dynamics in transition environments


Keywords: adaptation, allelopathy, phytoplankton, phycosphere, pollutants


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Phytoplankton, comprising of microalgae and cyanobacteria, is at the base of the food web upon which all the consumers in an aquatic ecosystem depend. Marine photosynthetic microorganisms have been evolving for millions of years leading to a large variety of structural (size, shape), metabolic and physiological adaptations to a wide range of environments, in close association with other planktonic assemblages. Some examples of these adaptations include the development of cell wall protective structures made of silica or carbonates, protection strategies via the symbiotic mutualism with other organisms, the formation of colonies, chemically mediated interactions and defense mechanisms, or combinations of autotrophic and mixotrophic metabolism expression depending on the environment.

The contemporary ocean is submitted to the continuous alteration of its physicochemical equilibrium by human activity. This has promoted rapid changes, ultimately affecting phytoplankton and its natural life cycle on an unprecedented temporal scale. Nutrients and novel contaminants, end up in the ocean provoking eutrophication, anoxic dead zones and changes in the life cycles of marine organisms including phytoplankton, its diversity and its interaction with other organisms. Today, we also know that more than 8 million tons of litter enter the ocean annually, turning into new substrates for native or alien species and acting as rapid vectors of contaminants and invasive species across the global ocean.
In this Research Topic, we address the diversity and adaptation of phytoplankton communities across time and environments, not only focused to the analysis of physiological adaptations but also understanding phytoplankton strategies, associations and interactions with fellow organisms or ‘lifeforms’ as viruses. This Research Topic would encompass research works related to:

• Effects of environmental changes on phytoplankton physiology and community structure
• Intra- and inter-kingdom interactions involving phytoplankton
• Phytoplankton diversity (genetic, morphological, physiological) and global patterns
• Phycosphere: close encounters of the “sea kind”
• Phytoplankton-pollutants interactions
• Phytoplankton allelopathy
• Harmful phytoplankton blooms
• Phytoplankton adaptations and dynamics in transition environments


Keywords: adaptation, allelopathy, phytoplankton, phycosphere, pollutants


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

16 September 2021 Abstract
17 November 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

16 September 2021 Abstract
17 November 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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