Comparatively little is known on the ecology and biodiversity of microorganisms living in the Southern Ocean and their genomic and metabolic adaptations to this unique environment. Marine microorganisms are central in the carbon cycling, though the combined process of photosynthesis (CO2 fixation), microbial loop (carbon recycling) and pump (carbon export). The comprehension of marine microorganism diversity, activity and biogeography is thus of paramount importance to better understand and predict the fate of marine and atmospheric carbon globally. This is all the more important in the Southern Ocean where climate change has been occurring at an accelerated pace over the last decades compared to other oceans.
This doctoral project will use cutting edge environmental genomics and bioinformatics tools to contribute to a high-resolution microbial taxonomic and genomic atlas and generate unprecedented diversity data for this critical environment. To reach this objective, we have sampled the southern ocean during a unique Antarctic circumnavigation international expedition. We now propose to study the functional diversity and biogeography of microorganisms in relation to Southern Ocean biomes (polar front, polynya, open ocean, SO water masses…) and ancillary biogeochemical parameters. To reach this goal, we have sequenced 180 metagenomes from various depth, location and biomes, and will deploy cutting edge bioinformatics and biostatistics to assemble microbial genomes and constrain microbial taxonomic and functional genes distribution around the Antarctic. This will result in a better understanding of the functioning of the Southern Ocean and its role in the global carbon budget, as well as unique ecological and evolutionary features of polar microorganisms.
A full 3-yr doctoral scholarship is available immediately to train a scientific researcher on this topic. The project is supported by an ANR grant, a research exchange grant with national and international partners of the ACE Ecogenomics consortium (U. Chicago, U. Duke, U. Michigan, Genoscope, Swiss Polar Institute) involved in bioinformatics, biogeochemistry, metabarcoding diversity and viral metagenomics. The PhD student will be mainly working in the IUEM Marine Science Institute in Brest, where he will receive advanced training in bioinformatics and marine microbiology. She/He will work in close collaboration with a postdoctoral researcher, within the lively and motivating microbial ecogenomics group of the Lab. for Microbiology of Extreme Environments.
Candidates with a training in bioinformatics, or environmental microbiology and ecology, with specific interests for marine microbiology and willing to contribute to better understanding this fascinating environment, are welcome to apply. You can send your CV and a brief letter explaining your motivations for a PhD training in the context of this project to firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us for any additional question you may have on this program.