Dr. Marie Marchal
Molecular Microbial Ecology
Phone: +41 58 765 5067
Microbiology / Microbial communities / Interspecies interactions / Evolution of mutualism / Spatial structure
Mutualistic interactions shape the assembly of nearly every microbial community. How do they emerge in the natural environment, given that natural selection tends to promote types that enhance an individual’s survival and reproduction rather than investments into other individuals? How can microorganisms that secrete metabolically costly metabolites at higher levels be selected?
Our hypothesis is that increased levels of metabolite secretion can evolve if the environment is structured but not if it is well-mixed. The increased metabolic cost of increased metabolite secretion to one partner would be overcome in a structured environment by the fact that, in turn, its partner would increase its growth, thus providing more of its exchanged secreted metabolite within its close proximity.
I am testing this hypothesis on two different systems. The first system consists in an interspecies mutualistic interaction, in which a phototrophic protist provides organic carbon compounds to a bacterial species that secretes in turn an essential vitamin. As a second approach, I use a microfluidic device to create a compartmentalized environment to co-cultivate pairs of auxotrophic E. coli mutants. Each compartment consists of droplets of water-in-oil.
Postdoc at the ETH Zurich/Eawag in Prof. Martin Ackermann's group, Project title: Role of spatial structure in the stability of microbial mutualistic interactions
PhD student at the University of Strasbourg in Prof. Philippe Bertin's lab. Thesis title: Genomic and ecology of arsenite-oxidizing biofilms
MSc in environmental sciences at the University of Strasbourg in Prof. Philippe Bertin's lab. Thesis title: Development of genetic tools for arsenic resistant strains
BSc in biology at the University of Strasbourg (France)
Find a list of my publications here.
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