Exploring the phycosphere of Emiliania huxleyi: From bloom dynamics to microbiome assembly experiments

Mariana Câmara dos Reis*, Sarah Romac, Florence Le Gall, Dominique Marie, Miguel J. Frada, Gil Koplovitz, Thierry Cariou, Nicolas Henry, Colomban de Vargas, Christian Jeanthon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Coccolithophores have global ecological and biogeochemical significance as the most important calcifying marine phytoplankton group. The structure and selection of prokaryotic communities associated with the most abundant coccolithophore and bloom-forming species, Emiliania huxleyi, are still poorly known. In this study, we assessed the diversity of bacterial communities associated with an E. huxleyi bloom in the Celtic Sea (Eastern North Atlantic), exposed axenic E. huxleyi cultures to prokaryotic communities derived from bloom and non-bloom conditions, and followed the dynamics of their microbiome composition over one year. Bloom-associated prokaryotic communities were dominated by SAR11, Marine group II Euryarchaeota and Rhodobacterales and contained substantial proportions of known indicators of phytoplankton bloom demises such as Flavobacteriaceae and Pseudoalteromonadaceae. The taxonomic richness of bacteria derived from natural communities associated with axenic E. huxleyi rapidly shifted and then stabilized over time. The succession of microorganisms recruited from the environment was consistently dependent on the composition of the initial bacterioplankton community. Phycosphere-associated communities derived from the E. huxleyi bloom were highly similar to one another, suggesting deterministic processes, whereas cultures from non-bloom conditions show an effect of stochasticity. Overall, this work sheds new light on the importance of the initial inoculum composition in microbiome recruitment and elucidates the temporal dynamics of its composition and long-term stability.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)6507-6522
Number of pages16
JournalMolecular Ecology
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Molecular Ecology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • Emiliania huxleyi
  • metabarcoding
  • microbiome assembly
  • phycosphere
  • phytoplankton–bacteria interactions


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