The next step to increase our understanding of microbial evolution is to investigate evolution of wild microbes in the natural environment. WildE aims to quantify the rate of evolution in wild marine microbes, using metagenomic time-series data (monthly samples over 7 years: 2009-2015). In addition, WildE will quantify the rate of evolution in natural assemblages of marine microbes, under selection pressure (elevated temperature) and measure how environmental selection changes population structure using an enclosed mesocosm experiment. Using both field investigations and mesocosm experiments will strengthen our understanding of evolutionary dynamics of wild populations. Exploring wild microbes will most likely reveal novel evolutionary patterns emerging as a consequence of ecosystem complexity, providing hints on the impact of horizontal gene transfer, recombination and viral infections on the genome composition of different species. The data produced here will be of interest to both scientists and policy makers and will increase our understanding of how ecologically important marine microbes will respond to future global change.
Financed by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (IF), EU (contract 895338)