Massana, Ramón

I presented my PhD at the Autonomous University of Barcelona in 1993 about tropic microbial interactions in a stratified lake. Then I did a two-years postdoctoral stay at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where I learned the use of molecular techniques in microbial ecology and participated in the discovery of marine archaea.

Since 1997 I am at the Institut de Ciències del Mar in Barcelona, first as a postdoctoral student, since 2001 as a Ramon & Cajal researcher, and since 2005 as permanent scientist. My general research lines are the study of microbial diversity in the marine environment, including microbes from the three Domains: bacteria, archaea and eukarya.

This is conducted by applying simultaneously several techniques, such a cloning and sequencing of SSU rDNA genes retrieved from the environment, molecular fingerprinting techniques to compare communities, and identification of specific populations by FISH.

My main actual interest is to open the black box of heterotrophic flagellates, small protozoans that play fundamental roles in marine food webs as bacterial grazers and nutrient remineralizers. It is remarkable how little is known about the phylogenetic and functional diversity of the dominant members of this assemblage in marine waters. In fact, recent results indicate that yet uncultured protists play a very important and unanticipated role.

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