Marine environments constitute the largest ecosystem on our planet. Oceans cover about 70% of the Earth’s surface and contain roughly 97% of the water supply. Microorganisms are abundant in marine waters and play a critical role in the planet functioning by performing major ecological transformations, such as organic matter mineralization and nutrient cycling. My research in the last year has focused on the study of photoheterotrophic bacteria in the ocean. The discovery of these organisms in the ocean in the early 2000’s is considered one of the major accomplishments of the past decade in aquatic microbial ecology because it changed our simplistic view of carbon cycling in aquatic ecosystems. My research in this topic has been done in collaboration mainly with Dr. Josep M. Gasol and Dr. Michal Koblizek. In addition, I have participated in different projects aimed at understanding the diversity, distribution and ecological role of marine bacteria at global scale thanks to the Circumnavigation Expeditions Tara Oceans and Malaspina in collaboration with Dr. Silvia G. Acinas. Currently, I participate with Dr. Esther Garces in the DEVOTES project that aims at the application of modern tools to understand marine microbial biodiversity and to assess the environmental status of marine ecosystems.
Despite most of my research focus on marine systems, I have also studied the community of photoheterotrophic bacteria in freshwater ecosystems. Currently, I carry out a project to compare photoheterotrops from lakes in Africa, Antarctica, Mongolia and Germany through a collaboration with Dr. Hans-Peter Grossart from the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Germany and Dr. Hugo Sarmento from the Federal University of Sao Carlos in Brazil.
Ferrera I, Sebastian M, Acinas SG, Gasol JM. 2015. PROKARYOTIC FUNCTIONAL GENE DIVERSITY IN THE SUNLIT OCEAN: STUMBLING IN THE DARK. Current Opinion in Microbioly 25: 33–39. Read article
Ferrera I, Borrego CM, Salazar G, Gasol JM. 2014. MARKED SEASONALITY OF AEROBIC ANOXYGENIC PHOTOTROPHIC BACTERIA IN THE COASTAL NW MEDITERRANEAN SEA AS REVEALED BY CELL ABUNDANCE, PIGMENT CONCENTRATION AND PYROSEQUENCING OF pufM GENE. Environmental Microbiology 16: 2953-2965. Read article
Ferrera I, Gasol JM, Sebastián M, Hojerová E, Koblížek M. 2011. GROWTH RATES OF AEROBIC ANOXYGENIC PHOTOTROPHIC BACTERIA AS COMPARED TO OTHER BACTERIOPLANKTON GROUPS IN COASTAL MEDITERRANEAN WATERS. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 77: 7451-7458. Read article