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Title: Visualization is crucial for understanding microbial processes in the ocean
Authors: Sebastián Caumel, Marta 
Gasol, Josep M.
UNESCO Clasification: 251001 Oceanografía biológica
Keywords: Microbial ecology
Aquatic environments
Issue Date: 2019
Journal: Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
Abstract: Recent developments in community and single-cell genomic approaches have provided an unprecedented amount of information on the ecology of microbes in the aquatic environment. However, linkages between each specific microbe's identity and their in situ level of activity (be it growth, division or just metabolic activity) are much more scarce. The ultimate goal of marine microbial ecology is to understand how the environment determines the types of different microbes in nature, their function, morphology and cell-to-cell interactions and to do so we should gather three levels of information, the genomic (including identity), the functional (activity or growth), and the morphological, and for as many individual cells as possible. We present a brief overview of methodologies applied to address single-cell activity in marine prokaryotes, together with a discussion of the difficulties in identifying and categorizing activity and growth. We then provide and discuss some examples showing how visualization has been pivotal for challenging established paradigms and for understanding the role of microbes in the environment, unveiling processes and interactions that otherwise would have been overlooked. We conclude by stating that more effort should be directed towards integrating visualization in future approaches if we want to gain a comprehensive insight into how microbes contribute to the functioning of ecosystems. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'Single cell ecology'.
ISSN: 0962-8436
DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2019.0083
Source: Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, v. 374, p. 20190083
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