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kooistraResearch Director
Integrative Maine Ecology Department

Tel. +39 081 5833271
e-mail: wiebe.kooistra(at)szn.it
Skype: wiebe.kooistra3
ORCID id: 0000-0002-8641-9739

Curriculum Vitae

Research interests

Chaetoceros arguably constitutes the most diverse genus of marine planktonic diatoms with globally well over 400 described species, many of which are distributed globally (TARA Oceans data). The species are characterised by thin siliceous tubes, called setae, which link vegetative cells into chains, aid nutrient uptake and hinder grazing. Cells can form resting spores with strongly silicified cell walls often ornamented with spines. The family contributes significantly to primary production, biogeochemical cycling and carbon sequestration in the oceans. Weekly cell counts of plankton samples gathered in the framework of the LTER projects MareChiara and NEREA over the years reveal remarkably high species diversity in the genus in the Gulf of Naples. Our taxonomic research on cultures raised from cell chains isolated from the samples have uncovered numerous additional species, either already known from elsewhere or new to science. HTS metabarcoding of the LTER samples has revealed the existence of even more species, often surprisingly abundant. The barcode results corroborate those of cell counts, demonstrating marked seasonality in the species composition, whereas some abundant species occur year-round. Our research now focuses on identifying and describing the new species, on sequencing and analysing transcriptomes and genomes of common species (e.g., to serve as references for meta-omics approaches at the LTER sites), and on understanding if, how and why morphological traits of selected species respond to environmental pressures such as nitrate depletion and grazing pressure.

Past and present Ph.D. students (last 10 years)

Dr. Chetan C. Gaonkar, Open University, London – SZN. 2013-2016. Director of Studies. Topic: Phylogeny and diversity of the diatom family Chaetocerotaceae. Currently Assistant Research Scientist at Department of Oceanography, Texas A.&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-3146. https://www.linkedin.com/in/chetan-gaonkar-b1941039/

Dr. Solenn Mordret, Open University, London – SZN. 2015-2018. Internal supervisor. Topic: Integrated study of Dinoflagellate diversity in the Gulf of Naples. Currently technical officer at the National Research Council Canada / Conseil national de recherches Canada, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. https://www.linkedin.com/in/solenn-mordret-9073b283/

Dr. Daniele De Luca, Open University, London – SZN. 2016-2019. Director of Studies. Topic: Biogeography and speciation in Chaetocerotaceae. Currently Postdoctoral fellow at Orto Botanico, Napoli
Alessandra Mussi, Open University, London – SZN. 2022-2025. Director of Studies. Topic: Diversity in Chaetocerotaceae.


EMI: Marina Montresor, Maria-Immacolata Ferrante, Ylenia Carotenuto, LTER MareChiara team, NEREA team.
RIMAR - MOTax: Diana Sarno, Adriana Zingone.
Blu-Biotech: Giovanna Romano.
External: Christopher Bowler (ENS-Paris, France), Bengte Edvardsen (UIO, Oslo, Norway), Thomas Mock (UEA, Norwich, UK). Roberta Piredda (U-Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy), Alessandra Rogato (IBBR-CNR, Napoli, Italy), Peter von Dassow (PUC, Santiago de Chile, Chile).

Past and present international projects (last 10 years)

H2020-INFRADEV-1-2014-1 European Marine Biological Research Infrastructure Cluster to promote the Blue Bioeconomy (EMBRIC) GA-654008; 01/06/2015-30/05/2019. Roles: co-author, WP leader, SZN-responsible. Principal result: microalgae for biotech purposes (JRA) and Transnational access to marine stations (including SZN).

H2020 INFRADEV-1-2015-2 European Marine Biological Resource Centre preparatory phase 2 (pp2EMBRC) GA-689173; 2015-2016. Roles: co-author, WP leader, SZN-responsible. Principal result: user access contract documentation and procedures for EMBRC

H2020-INFRAIA-2016-2017 Association of European Marine Biological Laboratories, Expanded (ASSEMBLE Plus) GA-730984; 01/10/2017-30/09/2022 Roles: co-author, WP leader, SZN-responsible. Principal result: TNA provision across Europe.

JGI 505650 CSP20 “New diatom genome sequences from the most abundant genus in the global ocean”. 09/18/2019-ongoing. Roles: co-PI with Dr. Christopher Bowler (ENS-Paris). Principal result: genomes of ten Chaetoceros species sequenced and annotated.

JGI 506537 CSP20 “100 Diatom genomes Project”. 07/12/2020-ongoing. Roles: co-author and team member. Principal result: genomes of hundred diatoms sequenced and annotated.

Selected Publications

Gaonkar CC, Kooistra WHCF, Lange CB, Montresor M, Sarno, D. Two new species in the Chaetoceros socialis complex (Bacillariophyta): C. sporotruncatus and C. dichatoensis, and characterization of its relatives, C. radicans and C. cinctus. J. Phycol. 2017; 53: 889–907.

Gaonkar CC, Piredda R, Minucci C, Mann DG, Montresor M, Sarno D, Kooistra WHCF. Annotated 18S and 28S rDNA reference sequences of taxa in the planktonic diatom family Chaetocerotaceae. PLoS ONE. 2018; 0208929.

De Luca D, Kooistra WHCF, Sarno D, Gaonkar CC, Piredda R. Global distribution and diversity of Chaetoceros (Bacillariophyta, Mediophyceae): integration of classical and novel strategies. PeerJ. 2019a; 7:e7410

De Luca D, Sarno D, Piredda R, Kooistra WHCF. A multigene phylogeny to infer the evolutionary history of Chaetocerotaceae. Mol. Phylogen. Evol. 1019b; 140, 106575.

Gaonkar CC, Piredda, R, Sarno D, Zingone A, Montresor M, Kooistra WHCF. Species detection and delineation in the marine planktonic diatoms Chaetoceros and Bacteriastrum through metabarcoding: making biological sense of haplotype diversity. Env. Microbiol. 2020; 22: 1917–1929.

De Luca D, Kooistra WHCF, Sarno D, Biffali E, Piredda R. Empirical evidence for concerted evolution in the 18S rDNA region of the planktonic diatom genus Chaetoceros. Sci. Rep. 2021a; 11: 807.

De Luca D, Piredda R, Sarno D, Kooistra WHCF. Resolving cryptic species complexes in marine protists: phylogenetic haplotype networks meet global DNA metabarcoding datasets. ISME J. 2021b; 15: 1931-1942.

Gaonkar CC, Sarno D, Montresor M, Lange CB, Kooistra WHCF. Chaetoceros turingii sp. nov. (Bacillariophyceae): morphological and molecular description of a new species from the Gulf of Naples, Italy. Nova Hedwigia, Beiheft 2021; 151: 161–171.

Piredda R, Sarno D, De Luca D, Kooistra WHCF. Biogeography of six species in the planktonic diatom genus Bacteriastrum (Bacillariophyta). Eur. J. Phycol. 2022; 57: 446–457.

Kooistra WHCF, Kusber W-H, Hernández-Becerril DU, Montresor M, Sarno D. The type species of the diatom genus Chaetoceros. Diat. Res. 2022; 37: 81–88.




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