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Flora Vincent

Contact details

Institut de Biologie de l’Ecole Normale Supérieure (IBENS)
46 rue d’Ulm, 75005 Paris, France
E-mail : fvincent chez biologie.ens.fr
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Research interests
DIATOM INTERACTIONS IN THE OPEN OCEAN : AN ECOLOGICAL NETWORK BASED APPROACH TO STUDY DIATOM COMMUNITY

Structure and function in ocean plankton communities rely upon the efficiency and diversity of cross-kingdom interactions (predation, symbiosis, epibionty,...). Such interactions are likely to be the result of millions of years of co-existence between planktonic organisms (Kiorbae, 2008).

Diatoms, a ubiquitous and opportunistic group of chromalveolates, are believed to be responsible for 20% of the primary production on Earth . Several cases of observed symbiotic, epiphytic, and competitive interactions involving diatoms have been reported in the literature, involving numerous lineages in the tree of life. Taking advantage of the Tara Oceans metabarcoding data and statistical methods to build co-occurrence ecological networks, my PhD aims at characterizing diatom cross-kingdom interactions at a global scale.

I try to describe how diatom interactions are structured depending on the partners and the environment, in order to understand what makes them one of the major functional groups in the oceans. We have shown that diatoms play an important role in exclusion patterns that can have both local and global distribution. Because inference is good but not enough, we try to complete this by cross validation between co-occurrence patterns, single cell genomics, confocal microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy. Unveiling the mechanisms of ecological networks stability is of great importance in a changing ocean, but also really exciting in terms of fundamental knowledge regarding the marine microbiology world.

I’m also involved in outreach Science, believing it’s part of our responsibility as scientists to get citizens aware of what we’re doing, and why. I particularly focus on portraying Science as it really is : a good deal of work with a good deal of excitement accessible to boys and girls, targeted at explaining how the world works around us and how we can improve it.

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