Microbial communities (microbiomes) are key players in many scenarios, from how the biosphere works to industrial and biotechnological processes, as well as human health and wellness. We study microbiomes of diverse environments trying to learn the rules that govern the assemblage of these microbial communities. This knowledge will help to understand how they function, and to predict the effects of disturbances. Eventually, this will lead to rational design and manipulation of microbiomes.
We focus mostly on marine microbial communities, but we are actively working in many other microbiomes from different environments. We study extreme environments because their microbiotas show fascinating adaptations to the harsh conditions. We work with human-associated microbiomes, such as the gut and the vagina, because of their potential to improve our health. We are also interested in other habitats, such as wastewaters and soils.
We use mostly bioinformatics tools to study the composition and functionality of microbiomes. Metagenomics is the basis of our work, since it provides the basic material: DNA sequences from environmental samples. The analysis of these sequences informs about the presence of diverse organisms and the content of their genomes, and the latter can be linked to functionality. We also carry out experimental work addressing interactions between members of microbiomes.