Title: Exploring diatom resting stages in Calabrian marine waters: biological diversity, chemical cues and biotechnological potential
Funding Source: Research center and advanced marine infrastructures in Calabria (CRIMAC)
Budget IMBBC: 20,000€
Start / End Date: 2022 - 2024
Project Progress: 47%
Functional and Comparative genomics
Diatoms are very diverse unicellular microalgae that play a fundamental role in the functioning of global ecosystems; they also have a great potential for biotechnological applications. Diatoms have complex life cycles with distinct stages and phases; this has important implications for e.g., the dynamics and genetic structure of their populations. These microalgae can produce secondary metabolites that mediate specific life cycle transitions. In this project we focus on diatom resting stages bringing together scientists with different expertise in a multi-disciplinary project that aims at i) training young researchers in a forefront field of research, ii) establishing a collaborative network that includes colleagues from the University of Calabria. The scientific objectives of this project are developed within the following 4 work packages: WP1) assess the diversity of diatoms producing resting stages along the Calabria coast, WP2) investigate the factors that trigger the formation of these stages; WP3) identify the secondary metabolites involved in the formation of resting stages, WP4) identify transcripts involved in pathways of secondary metabolites and test possible epigenetic mechanisms involved in the transition from vegetative cells to resting stages. This project brings together ‘basic research’, with important ecological implications, with biotechnological exploitation of diatoms, since the secondary metabolites identified can be further tested for bioactivity of possible interest for pharmaceutical application.