Observing and Promoting Atlantic Microbiomes (A-biome)

Marine microbiomes are at the heart of the living ocean, driving its biogeochemical cycles, forming the basis of its food webs and performing essential and some yet unknown functions in climate regulation. The oceans are a largely untapped resource for biodiscovery and the bioeconomy, with a high potential for the development of new products and processes. The Atlantic Ocean Marine Microbiome Working Group (MMWG) is a cooperative effort between Canada, the European Union and the United States of America, which strives to bring together science, industry and policy makers to advance the “Next Great Exploration of the Oceans”.

Through the activities of the MMWG and individual research projects, the Observing and Promoting Atlantic Microbiomes project aims to identify priority areas within microbiome research to guide future research studies and to communicate these needs to national and international managers who are directly responsible for funding decisions.

Observing and Promoting Atlantic Microbiomes’s overarching objectives are

 1) to promote microbiome research through collaboration with the MMWG.

2) to contribute to the expansion of a sampling network in eastern Canada to generate new knowledge about the diversity, biogeography and functioning of marine microbiomes.

Microbiomes are not visible and, outside of specialists, a general understanding of their roles in ocean functioning and health is lacking. With the MMWG, we will work to translate the science so that it can be used to provide advice to decision and policy makers, help to inform stakeholders and provide general knowledge to interested parties.

MMWG will address the current role of microbiomes, their functioning and what new knowledge may provide for biotechnological developments in a wide range of fields. Understanding of the role of microbiomes in driving and responding to changing oceans with the careful design of microbiome sampling to address specific research questions can provide an understanding of how microbes drive processes in our oceans. Microbiome sampling, in conjunction with sampling of environmental (physical, chemical and biological) parameters can link current conditions with specific microbiomes. In addition to field sampling, lab or field experiments can dive deeper into these processes by measuring responses to changing conditions.

Lead Institute
Collaborating institutes
Key contacts

Alice Ortmann

Project updates

Project period

1 January, 202231 December, 2030 

Joined OBON in June, 2022
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