Eric Capo

Post-doctoral researcher in aquatic microbial ecology at Umeå University/Guest researcher at SLU


I have a PhD in molecular paleoecology with skills in molecular biology, data analysis and aquatic microbial ecology. My interests lie in the ecology of freshwater and marine ecosystems, the temporal dynamics of aquatic biota and its functional response to environmental perturbations such as climate, eutrophication and mercury pollution.


I currently develop two research lines at SLU.

[Long-term changes in aquatic biodiversity] 

Back to my PhD thesis (2013-2016), I studied the long term temporal dynamics of microbial communities in lakes related to environmental changes - e.g. eutrophication and climate - applying a 18S metabarcoding approach to sedimentary DNA. During my first post-doc at Umeå University, I applied the same approach to study past changes in microbial communities in northern lakes as well as other systems  including Lake Constance, Lake Yellowstone and Lake Biwa via collaborations with abroad researchers. ​Since 2019, I got two projects funded to unravel the past microbial diversity of Swedish mountain lakes (2019 Crafoord grant) and Baltic Sea (2020 Ecochange Program) by applying shotgun sequencing approach to sedimentary ancient DNA.


[Microbial Hg methylation in aquatic systems] 

I started my second post doc at Umeå University in 2019 to study the mercury methylation in the Baltic Sea applying shotgun sequencing approach to unravel the microbial diversity of mercury methylators from oxygen-depleted waters and sediments ​Since July 2020, I work on establishing a consensus protocol to detect, count and taxonomically identified hgcAB genes - genes involved in Hg methylation - in metagenomes and MAGs. This work is done in collaboration with many experts in mercury microbiology worldwide. In 2021, this initiative led to the creation of an updated hgcAB amino acid catalogue providing tools to detect and taxonomical identified mercury methylators from environmental samples (MATE-Hg-Db.v1). Our next aim is to apply our consensus protocol to unravel the biogeography of mercury methylators in marine water systems using publicly available metagenomes.


Applying molecular biology approaches (e.g, ddPCR, DNA metabarcoding, metagenomics and metatranscriptomics) to study the past and present diversity, abundance and composition of aquatic biota from microbes to fish.


I am the coordinator of the sedaDNA scientific society that aims to provide tools to transmit information about current sedaDNA research, promote best practices and increase collaborations between research groups. A first outcome of this society was the review paper about freshwater sed-DNA research (Capo et al. 2021 Quaternary)

I am the Principal Investigator of the Meta-Hg working group that aims to provide an up-to-date database and a consensus protocol for the detection of Hg-cycling genes in environmental metagenomes. One aim is to apply this protocol for the study of biogeographic distribution of Hg-cycling microbial guilds in the global ocean.

Publikationer i urval

Capo E, Ninnes S, Domaizon I, Bertilsson S, Bigler C, Wang X-R, Bindler R, Rydberg J. (2021) Landscape setting drives the microbial eukaryotic community structure in four Swedish mountain lakes over the Holocene. Microorganisms. 9(2), 355. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms9020355 

Capo E, Giguet-Covex C, Rouillard A,  Nota K, Heintzman PD, Vuillemin A, Ariztegui D, Arnaud F, Belle S, Bertilsson S, Bigler C, Bindler R, Brown AG, Clarke CL, Crump S, Debroas D, Englund G, Ficetola FG, Garner R, Gauthier J, Gregory-Eaves I, Heinecke L,  Herzschuh U, Ibrahim A, Kisand V, Kjær KH, Lammers Y, Littlefair J, Messager E, Monchamp M-E, Olajos F, Orsi W, Pedersen MW, Rijal D, Rydberg J, Spanbauer T, Stoof-Leichsenring K, Taberlet P, Talas L, Thomas C, Walsh D, Wang Y, Willerslev E, Woerkom A, Zimmermann H, Coolen MJL, Epp L, Domaizon I, Alsos I, Parducci L. (2021) Lake sedimentary DNA research on past terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity: Overview and recommendations. Quaternary. 4, 6, doi: 10.3390/quat4010006

Capo E, Bravo AG, Soeresen A, Bertilsson S, Pinhassi J, Feng C, Andersson AF, Buck M, Björn E (2020) Deltaproteobacteria and Spirochaetes-Like Bacteria Are Abundant Putative Mercury Methylators in Oxygen-Deficient Water and Marine Particles in the Baltic Sea. Frontiers in Microbiology. 11: 574080. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2020.574080

Capo E, Rydberg J, Tolu J, Domaizon I, Debroas D, Bindler R, Bigler C (2019) How does environmental inter-annual variability shape aquatic microbial communities? A 40-year annual record of sedimentary DNA from a boreal lake (Nylandssjön, Sweden). Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 7, 245, doi: 10.3389/fevo.2019.00245

Capo E, Debroas D, Arnaud F, Perga ME, Chardon C, Domaizon I. (2017) Tracking a century of changes in microbial eukaryotic diversity in lakes driven by nutrient enrichment and climate warming. Environmental Microbiology. 19(7):2873-2892, doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.13815

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