The role of bacteria in diatom growth dynamics

Master Thesis subject (30 ECTS)
Many diatoms are important marine bloom forming algae. Several bacterial groups (e.g. . Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes) are typically associated with such blooms. These heterotrophic bacteria are assumed to play a vital role in these blooms as they can recycle nutrients, produce vitamins, but also can produce algicidal compounds. Bacteria-diatom interactions can thus range from synergistic to antagonistic and may be involved in both bloom initiation and termination. We have recently isolated numerous bacteria associated with different strains of the marine diatom Cylindrotheca. Preliminary co-culture screenings revealed that many of these bacteria interact with the diatoms in a very specific and density-dependent way. At present, it remains unknown how such interactions are mediated. Within the framework of this thesis we will further investigate the effects of density, bacteria and host identity-specificity and environmental conditions on the nature of diatom-bacteria interactions and how they influence bacterial and diatom growth dynamics. In a second phase, we will screen the co-cultures for metabolites (i.e. quorum sensing compounds) which might mediate these interkingdom interactions
Number of students: 
academic year: 
Contact person email: 
contact person first name: 
Willem Stock
Other people involved: 
promotor: Prof. Koen Sabbe copromotor: Prof. Wim Vyverman copromotor: Prof. Anne Willems copromotor: Prof. Sven Mangelinckx supervisor: Willem Stock
Reference Number: RP-36332