Research Topic

Chemically Mediated Interactions Between Marine Macrophytes and Microbes

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About this Research Topic

We are acutely aware that communication of terrestrial and aquatic plants and animals is largely achieved using information-carrying chemicals (infochemicals). These “infochemicals” should, therefore, be seen as a chemical “language of life”. Marine macrophytes and phytoplankton are dominant primary producers ...

We are acutely aware that communication of terrestrial and aquatic plants and animals is largely achieved using information-carrying chemicals (infochemicals). These “infochemicals” should, therefore, be seen as a chemical “language of life”. Marine macrophytes and phytoplankton are dominant primary producers in marine ecosystems worldwide. They produce oxygen and form the base of food webs, are ecosystem engineers, and provide ecologically and economically valuable functions and services. However, phytoplankton and macrophytes are not single entities and form intimate relationships with microbes (including bacteria, fungi, viruses). These interactions in turn influence carbon and nutrient cycling, regulate the productivity and dynamics of aquatic food webs, and affect ocean-atmosphere fluxes of climatically relevant gases. Associations and interactions between these two cross-kingdoms are chemically-mediated and are dependent on `cross-talk' infochemicals as well. However, our knowledge on the chemical language of life in aquatic ecosystems is still incipient (when compared to terrestrial environment) while rapid undergoing climate-driven changes (rising temperature, acidification, hypoxia, desalination) can potentially modify such chemically mediated interactions.

In this topic, we will invite contributions from macrophyte chemical ecologists and microbial ecologists to bring recent technical advances in the fields of analytical chemistry, cell biology, combined with the wealth of emerging “omics” resources into the field of chemically mediated macrophyte-microbe interactions under present oceans. We will encourage submissions from field, laboratory and mesocosm studies that provide an unprecedented opportunity to understand the role of chemical signaling in structuring macrophyte-microbes interactions and its possible large scale impact on ocean health and uses.


Photo credit: Thomas Wichard


Keywords: Marine macrophytes, Microbes, Chemical ecology, Phytoplankton, Omics


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