Most microbiomes of marine ecosystems and marine organisms are being impacted by anthropogenic action and can no longer be considered pristine. These microbiomes are usually enriched with pathogens, especially in areas in need of restoration, and constitute one of the key points to be considered for conservation purposes. Here, I will show how corals respond to the probiotic application in field trials, the robotic improvements we have been testing for the automated inoculation, and whether non-target hosts (e.g., sponges, fish, and algae) can also be affected by such microbial inoculations.
Raquel Peixoto is a pioneer in the development of probiotics for corals. Her research has outlined the protocols and proved the concept that the use of coral probiotics can increase the host's resilience and resistance against environmental threats. This pioneering work has contributed to paving the way for new approaches to reveal and explore mechanisms of marine microbiology and symbiotic interactions, and for a new area of research, on coral probiotics. Her research addresses the diversity, ecological role, and biotechnological potential of microorganisms associated with marine organisms. Her goals are to investigate and understand key symbiotic mechanisms promoting the host's resistance and resilience against different impacts, as part of her projects on coral reef protection, restoration, and rehabilitation. In addition, as the vice-president (August 2022-2024) and upcoming President (2024-2026) of the prestigious International Society for Microbial Ecology (ISME), founder and co-chair of the Beneficial Microbes for Marine Organisms Network (BMMO), member of the council (and fellow) of the International Coral Reef Society, co-chair of the Coral Conservation Committee for the International Coral Reef Society (ICRS), co-leader of the ICRS delegation at CoP26 and CoP27 (and nominated lead of ICRS delegation for Cop28), member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the G-20 Coral R&D Accelerator Platform (CORDAP), and co-appointee at AEON collective, among participations in other key working groups and committees, she seeks to promote collaborative work and contribute on powerful international platforms to promote advances on the study of microbial ecology and generate (and implement) science-driven solutions to protect coral reefs.