A community perspective on the concept of marine holobionts: current status, challenges, and future directions - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles PeerJ Year : 2021

A community perspective on the concept of marine holobionts: current status, challenges, and future directions

1 LBI2M - Laboratoire de Biologie Intégrative des Modèles Marins
2 SBR - Station biologique de Roscoff [Roscoff]
3 UMR MARBEC - MARine Biodiversity Exploitation and Conservation
4 Institute for Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry
5 PHYC - Laboratoire Phycotoxines
6 Uppsala University
7 SZN - Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn
8 Photosymbiose
9 CCMAR - Centre of Marine Sciences [Faro]
10 LS2N - Laboratoire des Sciences du Numérique de Nantes
11 LS2N - équipe COMBI - Combinatoire et Bioinformatique
12 SAMS - Scottish Association for Marine Science
13 School of Science and the Environment (Manchester Metropolitan University)
14 University of Bremen
15 SBR - Station biologique de Roscoff = Roscoff Marine Station
16 FR2424 - Fédération de recherche de Roscoff
17 IBENS - Institut de biologie de l'ENS Paris
18 Penn State - Pennsylvania State University
19 Evolution and Ecology Research Centre and School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Kensington, Sydney, NSW 2052 Australia
20 SCELSE - Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering [Singapore]
21 USIMS - University of Sydney Institute of Marine Science
22 Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology
23 MCAM - Molécules de Communication et Adaptation des Micro-organismes
24 Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas de Vigo
25 Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research
26 PML - Plymouth Marine Laboratory
27 ISYEB - Institut de Systématique, Evolution, Biodiversité
28 UG - University of Gdańsk
29 University of Pennsylvania
30 UGENT - Universiteit Gent = Ghent University
31 Institute of Microbiology and Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics
32 IHPE - Interactions Hôtes-Pathogènes-Environnements
33 JACOB - Institut de Biologie François JACOB
Enora Briand
Johan Decelle
  • Function : Author
Aschwin Engelen
Claire Gachon
Eve Toulza


Host-microbe interactions play crucial roles in marine ecosystems. However, we still have very little understanding of the mechanisms that govern these relationships, the evolutionary processes that shape them, and their ecological consequences. The holobiont concept is a renewed paradigm in biology that can help to describe and understand these complex systems. It posits that a host and its associated microbiota with which it interacts, form a holobiont, and have to be studied together as a coherent biological and functional unit to understand its biology, ecology, and evolution. Here we discuss critical concepts and opportunities in marine holobiont research and identify key challenges in the field. We highlight the potential economic, sociological, and environmental impacts of the holobiont concept in marine biological, evolutionary, and environmental sciences. Given the connectivity and the unexplored biodiversity specific to marine ecosystems, a deeper understanding of such complex systems requires further technological and conceptual advances, e.g., the development of controlled experimental model systems for holobionts from all major lineages and the modeling of (info)chemical-mediated interactions between organisms. Here we propose that one significant challenge is to bridge cross-disciplinary research on tractable model systems in order to address key ecological and evolutionary questions. This first step is crucial to decipher the main drivers of the dynamics and evolution of holobionts and to account for the holobiont concept in applied areas, such as the conservation, management, and exploitation of marine ecosystems and resources, where practical solutions to predict and mitigate the impact of human activities are more important than ever.
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Dates and versions

hal-03166872 , version 1 (09-07-2019)
hal-03166872 , version 2 (25-03-2021)



Simon M. Dittami, Enrique Arboleda, J.-C. Auguet, Arite Bigalke, Enora Briand, et al.. A community perspective on the concept of marine holobionts: current status, challenges, and future directions. PeerJ, 2021, 9, pp.e10911. ⟨10.7717/peerj.10911⟩. ⟨hal-03166872v2⟩
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