[Cod. PID2022-143018NB-I00 DIACOM]

DIACOM is a proposal on light communication in pelagic pennate diatoms. These organisms play a fundamental role in primary productivity and in the transport of CO2 to the deep areas of the ocean. Furthermore, they can give rise to highly toxic proliferations. DIACOM is focused on developing an innovative line of research, started 6 years ago by the proposing research group, on the collective phenomena that determine the population dynamics of pelagic diatoms. The results of these studies, published in high-impact journals, have provided a new insight into the socialization processes in marine microorganisms. DIACOM delves into the mechanisms of photoperception and communication, as well as its possible consequences on the sexual reproduction of pennate diatoms in the ocean, based on experimentation with state-of-the-art techniques (gene editing, laser diffractometry, microfluidics, advanced video microscopy and digital holography). The work team has extensive experience in the proposed tasks and is supported by international collaborators with recognized experience in the study of marine diatoms. Due to the scientific interest of this research line, its international projection and the experience of the work team, we consider that DIACOM is a low-risk proposal that can provide great scientific and, indirectly, socioeconomic benefits.