IRP Microbsea

Since 2007, our unit and the chinese Key Laboratory in Marine Genetic Resources of the 3rd Institute of Oceanography (TIO) of China - Ministry of Natural Resources of China-, located in Xiamen (Fujian province), are cooperating. This bilateral cooperation has intensified over the years, strengthened through exchanges of personnel and co-supervised theses, to such an extent that in November 2018, our 2 units joined together to form an international laboratory (= International Research Project IRP).

IRP MicrobSea Directors Dr Karine ALAIN and Professor Zongze SHAO, at the 4-5/11/2019 environment and biodiversity seminar in Beijing

Our Sino-French laboratory "without walls" is called Sino-French Laboratory of Deep-Sea Microbiology (acronym: MICROBSEA), and is headed for the Chinese part by Prof. Zongze SHAO and for the French part by Dr. Karine ALAIN. Activities of the IRP MicrobSea are oriented towards the study of the microbiology of deep-sea hydrothermal vents. 

IRP MicrobSea laboratories in France (Brest-Plouzané, IUEM and Ifremer campuses) and China (Xiamen)

The scientific project

 The overall goal of the IRP MICROBSEA is to gain insights into the diversity and biology of microorganisms at deep-sea hydrothermal vents -with a special effort on the cultivation of yet-uncultured microorganisms- and to better understand the functioning of this singular remote ecosystem, from the microbial community to the cell level. In the coming years, we propose to focus our work and put all the efforts on two main research areas:

  • the microbial actors of the sulfur and iron cycles, their ecophysiology, their metabolic pathways, their interactions with their abiotic environment (mineralization; mineral alterations), and their contribution to the hydrothermal C, S and Fe balances
  • the interactions between hydrothermal viruses and their thermophilic prokaryotic hosts (bacteria, archaea) and the impact of these interactions on hydrothermal biogeochemical cycles (especially C)

Inauguration of the IRP