Application of 'omics' approaches to microbial oceanography

Deepa R. Varkey, Martina A. Doblin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Viruses, bacteria, archaea and single celled eukaryotes, collectively known as microbes, dominate the biomass and metabolism of ocean ecosystems. Marine microbes are highly abundant and critical to human survival, but the vast majority of taxa have not yet been cultured. The use of environmental nucleic acid sequencing as a cultivation-independent approach to microbial oceanography has therefore significantly expanded our understanding of the diversity, evolution, biogeography and important biogeochemical roles of marine microorganisms. Here we provide illustrative examples of how genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic approaches have been applied to marine microbes to advance our understanding of their ecology. A remaining challenge is the need to link phenotypes to their environment, requiring a better understanding of genomic features that influence transcription (e.g. promoters and methylation) as well as post-translational modifications, and how such regulatory processes are impacted by extracellular abiotic and biotic processes. In addition, the expansion of available protein and taxonomic databases will greatly increase our capacity to link microbial function to specific taxa.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSystems biology of marine ecosystems
EditorsManoj Kumar, Peter Ralph
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9783319620947
ISBN (Print)9783319620923
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Marine microbes
  • Microbial function
  • Genomics
  • Proteomics
  • Transcriptomics


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