Microbes in a changing world: diversity and biogeochemistry

10th July to 15th July -2016 – Barcelona (Spain)

Extended registration and fellowship application deadline


The Colloquium is inspired by the figure of Ramon Margalef (Barcelona, 1919-2004), who worked for many years at the Institut de Ciències del Mar and the University of Barcelona. He was one of the founders of modern ecology, broke old paradigms and contributed to science with innovative theories about the spatiotemporal structure of the ecosystems, the relations between diversity, biodiversity, stability and connectivity, the fundamental paper of energy in biological productivity and the interrelations between ecological succession and evolution. He recognized the importance of the physical environment to understand the behaviour of species and ecosystems. He wrote ca. 500 papers and books including, “On certain unifying principles in ecology”, “Perspectives in Ecological Theory”, “Information Theory in Ecology”, “Life-forms of phytoplankton as survival alternatives in an unstable environment” and “Our Biosphere”. Margalef was also an encouraging teacher and mentor. He recognized the importance of the physical environment to understand the behaviour of species and ecosystems.

We believe this 4th Colloquium will, again, be an excellent opportunity to foster learning and discussions on the relevance of an interdisciplinary perspective in Ecology. We expect to attain this important aim through a very dynamic colloquium, with an important component of discussion, exchange of ideas and research.

Microbes in a changing world: diversity and biogeochemistry

Microbes dominate all types of ecosystems and are the main responsible for biogeochemical cycling. Recent methodological developments have put them at the forefront of research in soil, freshwater and marine research, and even in the human body considered as an ecosystem. To what extend ecological theories developed for macroorganisms apply to microbial ecology? What are the main drivers of microbial diversity? What is the true extend of microbial diversity? Are there typical properties of microbial succession? How microbe-microbe and microbe-macroorganism relationships affect biogeochemical cycling? To what extend the technological developments that generate lists of organisms and their genes are related to whole ecosystem biogeochemical cycling? How the physical dynamics of the environment affect microbial diversity and biogeochemical function? How will global change affect microbes and the functions that they perform? We will address all these issues with contributions of well-known microbial ecology, oceanography, biogeochemistry and ecology researchers, and discussions with all participants. Although all these questions will be examined in a cross-system scenario, our target ecosystems will be marine.

The aim of this Colloquium is to enhance the exchange of ideas and to promote imaginative thinking by bringing together ecological knowledge from experts on different scientific areas.


The 2016 Ramon Margalef Summer course is possible thanks to support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Agbar Foundation, the Scientific Committe on Oceanic Research of the International Council for Science, the International Society for Microbial Ecology, the Campus de Excelencia Internacional del Mar and the Institute of Marine Sciences. The course directors are Dr. Pep Gasol and Dra. Cèlia Marrasé.