Dr. Johan Decelle

Contact / Address:

Phone +49 (0) 341 235 4657
Fax +49 (0) 341 235 450822

Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Permoserstrasse 15
04318 Leipzig

Johan Decelle

Post-doctoral project MINOTAUR: Metabolic interactions in oceanic photosymbioses

The project aims to explore the metabolic basis of planktonic photosymbiosis to understand the functioning of the partnership and its contribution to elemental cycling in the oceans. A single-cell approach involving stable isotopes and high-resolution chemical imaging techniques (e.g. ToF-SIMS and nanoSIMS) available at ProVIS will be used to visualize the elemental and isotopic composition of intact radiolarian symbioses at the subcellular level, and to quantify the assimilation and transfer of nutrients between partners in different conditions. The same approach will be applied on cultured free-living symbionts to determine the degree of host control over symbiont metabolism. Electron microscopy (e.g. TEM and SEM) will also be used in a correlative way to combine the morphological and chemical information obtained from the same area of interest.

MINOTAUR is supported by a Marie-Sklodowska Curie fellowship (individual fellowship; 658442; H2020-MSCA-IF- 223 2014), and supervised by Niculina Musat (Team leader of ProVIS). Collaboration with Hryhoriy Stryhanyuk and Matthias Schmidt from ProVIS.

Symbiosis in the plankton between heterotrophic hosts and intracellular algae.
Symbiosis between Acantharia (unicellular host) and intracellular microalgae (yellow cells) is widespread and abundant in the surface ocean. The host builds a complex mineral skeleton.

John Dolan and Sophie Marro from the Laboratoire d'Océanographie de Villefranche CNRS UMR 7093 (Villefranche-sur-Mer, France)
Benoit Gallet from Institut de Biologie Structurale (IBS) - UMR5075 - Electron Microscopy and Methods (Grenoble, France).
Ian Probert from the Roscoff Marine Station - Culture Collection (Roscoff, France).

Curriculum Vitae

Since January 2016 Post-Doctoral Fellow
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ Department of Isotope Biogeochemistry - ProVIS Team
2013 - 2015 Post-Doctoral Fellow
University Pierre et Marie Curie Paris VI ‐ CNRS, UMR7144, Station Biologique de Roscoff, France
2009 - 2012 PhD
University Pierre et Marie Curie Paris VI ‐ CNRS, UMR7144, Station Biologique de Roscoff, France
2008 Research Assistant
EMBL Heidelberg, Germany
2006 - 2007 Master Sc. - Integrative Biology and Physiology ‐ University Pierre et Marie Curie Paris VI (UPMC), France
2002 - 2005 B.Sc. in Biology
University Pierre et Marie Curie Paris VI (UPMC), France

Field of Expertise

  • Molecular ecology and evolution of marine protists
  • Phylogeny, metabarcoding
  • Sample preparation for electron microscopy (SEM and TEM) and chemical imaging (ToF-SIMS and nanoSIMS) applied to single celled eukaryotes
  •  Symbioses in marine plankton


(available on ResearchGate)

  • Jiang H, Kilburn MR, Decelle J, Musat N (2016) NanoSIMS chemical imaging combined with correlative microscopy for biological sample analysis. Current Opinion in Biotechnology 41: 130-135
  • Mordret S, Romac S, Henry N, Colin S, Carmichael M, Berney C, Audic S, Richter DJ, Pochon X, de Vargas C, Decelle J (2015) The symbiotic life of Symbiodinium in the open ocean within a new species of calcifying ciliate (Tiarina sp.). The ISME journal doi:10.1038/ismej.2015.211
  • De Vargas C, Audic S, Henry N, Decelle J, Mahé F, Romac S et al. (2015) Eukaryotic plankton diversity in the sunlit ocean. Science. 348: 1261605
  • Lima-Mendez G, Faust K, Henry N, Decelle J, Colin S et al. (2015) Determinants of community structure in the global plankton interactome. Science. 348: 1262073
  • Decelle J and Not F (2015) Acantharia. Encyclopedia of Life Sciences
  • Decelle J, Christen R, Romac S, Stern RF, Bendif EM, Zingone A et al. (2015) PhytoREF: a reference database of the plastidial 16S rRNA gene of photosynthetic eukaryotes with curated taxonomy. Molecular Ecology Resources 15: 1435-1445
  • Decelle J, Colin S, Foster RA. Photosymbiosis in marine planktonic protists. Marine Protists: Diversity and Dynamics (eds Ohtsuka, S., Suzaki, T., Horiguchi, T., Suzuki, N. & Not, F.) 465–500 (Springer, 2015)
  • Balzano S, Corre E, Decelle J, Sierra R, Wincker P, Da Silva C, Poulain J, Pawlowski J, Not F (2015) Transcriptome analyses to investigate symbiotic relationships between marine protists. Frontiers in microbiology 6 doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2015.00098
  • Biard T, Suzuki N, Pillet L, Poirier C, Decelle J, Not F (2015) Integrative taxonomy of the Collodaria (Polycystinea, Radiolaria). Protist 166: 374-388
  • Andersen RA, Bailey JC, Decelle J, Probert I (2015) Phaeocystis rex sp. nov. (Phaeocystales, Prymnesiophyceae): a new solitary species that produces a multilayered scale cell covering. European Journal of Phycology 50: 207-222
  • Decelle J, Romac S, Sasaki E, Not F, Mahé F (2014) Intracellular diversity of the V4 and V9 regions of the 18S rRNA in marine protists (Radiolarians) assessed by high-throughput sequencing. PLoS ONE 9(8):e104297
  • Probert I, Siano R, Poirier C, Decelle J, Biard T, Tuji A, Suzuki N, Not F (2014) Brandtodinium gen. nov. and B. nutricula comb. Nov. (Dinophyceae), a dinoflagellate commonly found in symbiosis with polycystine radiolarians. Journal of Phycology 50: 388-399
  • Decelle J (2013) New perspectives on the functioning and evolution of photosymbiosis in plankton: Mutualism or parasitism? Communicative & Integrative Biology 6:4 (Invited article)
  • Decelle J, Martin P, Paborstava K, Pond DW, Tarling G, Mahé F, de Vargas C, Lampitt R, Not F (2013) Diversity, ecology and biogeochemistry of cyst-forming Acantharia (Radiolaria) in the oceans. PLoS ONE 8(1): e53598
  • Lejzerowicz F, Esling P, Majewski W, Szczuciński W, Decelle J, Obadia C, Martinez-Arbizu P, Pawlowski J (2013) Ancient DNA complements microfossil record in deep-sea subsurface sediments. Biology Letters 9 (4): 20130283
  • Sierra R, Matz MV, Aglyamova G, Pillet L, Decelle J, Not F, de Vargas C, Pawlowski J (2013) Deep relationships of Rhizaria revealed by phylogenomics: A farewell to Haeckel’s Radiolaria. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 67: 53-59
  • Guillou L, Bachar D, Audic S, Bass D, Berney C, Bittner L, Boutte C, Burgaud G, de Vargas C, Decelle J, del Campo J, Dolan JR, Dunthorn M, Edvardsen B, Holzmann M, Kooistra W, Lara E, Le Bescot N, Logares R, Mahe F, Massana R, Montresor M, Morard R, Not F, Pawlowski J, Probert I, Sauvadet AL, Siano R, Stoeck T, Vaulot D, Zimmermann P and Christen R. (2013) The Protist Ribosomal Reference database (PR2): a catalog of unicellular eukaryote Small Sub-Unit rRNA sequences with curated taxonomy. Nucleic Acids Research 41: 597-604
  • Decelle J, Probert I, Bittner L, Desdevises Y, Colin S, de Vargas, Galí M, Simó R, Not F (2012) An original mode of symbiosis in open ocean plankton. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 109: 18000-18005
  • Decelle J, Siano R, Probert I, Poirier C, Not F (2012) Multiple microalgal partners in symbiosis with the Acantharia Acanthochiasma sp. (Radiolaria). Symbiosis 58: 233-244
  • Decelle J, Suzuki N, Mahé F, de Vargas C, Not F (2012) Molecular phylogeny and morphological evolution of the Acantharia (Radiolaria) Protist 163: 435-450
  • Pawlowski J, Adl S, Audic S, Bass D, Belbahri L, Berney C, Bowser SS, Cepicka I, Decelle J, Dunthorn M, Fiore-Donno AM, Gile GH, Holzmann M, Jahn R, Jirků M, Keeling PJ, Kostka M, Kudryavtsev A, Lara E, Lukeš J, Mann DG, Mitchell EAD, Nitsche F, Romeralo M, Saunders GW, Simpson AGB, Smirnov AV, Spouge J, Stern RF, Stoeck T, Zimmermann J, Schindel D, de Vargas C. (2012) CBOL Protist Working Group: Barcoding eukaryotic richness beyond the animal, plant and fungal kingdoms. PLoS Biology 10(11): e1001419
  • Karsenti E et al. (2011) A holistic approach to marine eco-systems biology. PLoS Biology, 9(10): e1001177
  • Decelle J, Andersen AC, Hourdez S (2010) Morphological adaptations to chronic hypoxia in deep-sea decapod crustaceans from hydrothermal vents and cold seeps. Marine Biology 157: 1259-1269

Ph.D thesis: “Evolution and Ecology of photosymbiosis in Acantharia (Radiolaria)”. (PhD defense, December 2012 with Prof David A. Caron from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, (USA) and Dr Fabrice Vavre from the University of Lyon (France) as main referees "rapporteur").