The International Census of Marine Microbes (ICoMM)
will facilitate the inventory of marine microbial diversity.
It will develop a strategy to:
Examples of questions that ICoMM
will address include:
catalogue all known diversity of single-cell organisms inclusive of the Bacteria, Archaea, Protista and associated viruses
explore and discover unknown microbial
place that knowledge into appropriate ecological and evolutionary contexts.
governs the evolution of marine microbial lineages within complex marine
do marine microbial consortia retain functionally equivalent but genetically
Is there a marine microbial biogeography and if so, what are the
principal drivers or restrictors?
How does genotypic diversity shape phenotypic diversity, and how
does this diversity influence the functioning of marine ecosystems?
has five major activities:
support scientific working groups focusing on
- open ocean and coastal systems
technology that is
specifically required for a microbial census.
develop the database resource MICROBIS
which will organize morphological, molecular and contextual information for
marine microbial diversity within a framework that integrates into OBIS.
provide resources that can facilitate and coordinate requests for
research support from governmental and private foundations.
facilitate education and outreach of ICoMM and make it visible to the general public and raise
awareness of its goals
support small-scale, pilot projects that have
the potential to shape larger-scale research initiatives in marine microbial
To be successful, ICoMM must promote
international cooperation and forge linkages with existing and new CoML field
projects for collecting samples, contextual information and new technologies.
ICoMM recognizes that projects currently underway or
completed over the past decade will have an important impact on the census.
Participation by principal investigators of current projects in the
initiative will accelerate progress and ultimately
lead to an organized constituency for seeking funding from agencies and
foundations. At the same time, ICoMM
will engage the broader community of microbiologists with
complementary interests in microbial diversity, evolution, biogeography and
their functional roles in marine systems.