Eco-omics: A Review of the Application of Genomics, Transcriptomics, and Proteomics for the Study of the Ecology of Harmful Algae

Timothy I. McLean, University of Southern Mississippi


The implementation of molecular techniques has been widely adopted throughout the life sciences except in the marine sciences. The latter trend is quickly being reversed as even more cutting-edge molecular platforms, referred to collectively as 'omics-related technologies, are being used in a number of laboratories that study various aspects of life in the marine environment. This review provides a brief overview of just a few representative studies that have used genomics, transcriptomics, or proteomics approaches to deepen our understanding, specifically, about the underlying molecular biology of harmful algae. The examples of the studies described here are particularly relevant in showing how the information gleaned from these technologies can uncover the genetic capacity of harmful algal bloom-forming species, can generate new hypotheses about mechanistic relationships that bridge gene-environment interactions, and can impinge on our understanding surrounding the ecology of these organisms.