Annick Wilmotte

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Annick Willmotte
Photo byers9 001-1cut.gif
Alma materUniversity of Liège
Scientific career
FieldsPolar microbiology
InstitutionsUniversity of Liège Edit this at Wikidata

Annick Wilmotte is a Belgian Antarctic researcher, best known for her research on the diversity and ecology of Antarctic cyanobacterial microflora.[1][2] A genus of Antarctic cyanobacteria, called Wilmottia was named after her in recognition of her work in this field.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Wilmotte completed her MSc (Botanical Sciences) at the University of Liège in 1982. Her thesis investigated the use of epiphytic marine cyanobacteria as indicators of pollution of Calvi Bay, Corsica, France. She subsequently completed her PhD in Botanical Sciences from the University of Liège. The title of her thesis was "Contribution to the taxonomic and ecological characterisation of marine epiphytic Oscillatoriaceae (Cyanophyceae) of the experimental cultivation and nucleic acid studies".

Career and impact[edit]

Wilmotte, currently Research Associate of the FRS-FNRS, working at the University of Liège, has recognized research experience in the isolation, cultivation, and characterisation of cyanobacteria by phenotypic and genotypic methods,[3][4][5] has contributed to the molecular taxonomy of cyanobacteria[6][7] and has highlighted the importance of Antarctic microbial diversity.[8][9] Her polar work concerns the microscopic and genotypic diversity of cyanobacteria in Antarctic microbial mats (MICROMAT, LAQUAN,[10] AMBIO[11]) and the use of fossil DNA for cyanobacterial paleodiversity reconstruction (HOLANT).[12]

Willmotte is coordinating the BELSPO project CCAMBIO[13] using high-throughput methodologies to investigate the microbial biodiversity and biogeography in lacustrine benthic mats at the scale of the Antarctic continent.[14] She also was involved in the study of the diversity of picoplanktonic cyanobacteria in the Southern Ocean and Arctic Sea.[15][16]

Since 2011, she has been the promoter and curator of the BCCM/ULC public collection of cyanobacteria,[17] a dedicated public collection, currently containing one of the largest collections of documented subpolar cyanobacteria worldwide. The collection accepts deposits of polar cyanobacteria and allows their distribution to scientists and industries, for further research.

Wilmotte has been the Belgian delegate to the Committee for Environmental Protection at the Consultative Meeting of the Antarctic Treaty since 2008.[18] She is also Secretary of the Belgian National Committee on Antarctic Research of the Royal Academy of Belgium[19] and a Belgian delegate to the Standing Scientific Group- Life Sciences of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research since 2012.[20]

Scientific outreach[edit]

Wilmotte is recognised for her work in scientific outreach on the Antarctic Treaty[21][22] and also on the importance of Antarctic microorganisms.[9]

Awards and honours[edit]

A new cyanobacterial genus (Wilmottia) originally described from Antarctica was dedicated to her by colleagues.[1][23] She was awarded the l'Adjudant Lefévre of the Sciences of the Royal Academy of Belgium in 1999.


  1. ^ a b c "New genus Wilmottia in honor of our BCCM/ULC colleague Annick Wilmotte". BCCM Belgian Coordinated Collections of Microorganisms. Retrieved 2016-07-18.
  2. ^ "The BELDIVA scientific team at Princess Elisabeth station - News - EducaPoles - International Polar Foundation's educational site". Retrieved 2016-07-18.
  3. ^ Wilmotte, A. M. R.; Stam, W. T. (1984-01-01). "Genetic Relationships among Cyanobacterial Strains Originally Designated as 'Anacystis nidulans' and Some Other Synechococcus Strains". Microbiology. 130 (10): 2737–2740. doi:10.1099/00221287-130-10-2737.
  4. ^ Wilmotte, Annick; Turner, Seán; Van de Peer, Yves; Pace, Norman R. (1992-12-01). "Taxonomic Study of Marine Oscillatoriacean Strains (cyanobacteria) with Narrow Trichomes. Ii. Nucleotide Sequence Analysis of the 16s Ribosomal Rna1". Journal of Phycology. 28 (6): 828–838. doi:10.1111/j.0022-3646.1992.00828.x. ISSN 1529-8817.
  5. ^ Baurain, Denis; Renquin, Laurent; Grubisic, Stana; Scheldeman, Patsy; Belay, Amha; Wilmotte, Annick (2002-04-01). "Remarkable Conservation of Internally Transcribed Spacer Sequences of Arthrospira ("spirulina" ) (cyanophyceae, Cyanobacteria) Strains from Four Continents and of Recent and 30-Year-Old Dried Samples from Africa1". Journal of Phycology. 38 (2): 384–393. doi:10.1046/j.1529-8817.2002.01010.x. ISSN 1529-8817.
  6. ^ Wilmotte, Annick (1994-01-01). "Molecular Evolution and Taxonomy of the Cyanobacteria". In Bryant, Donald A. (ed.). The Molecular Biology of Cyanobacteria. Advances in Photosynthesis. Springer Netherlands. pp. 1–25. doi:10.1007/978-94-011-0227-8_1. ISBN 9780792332732.
  7. ^ Wilmotte, Annick; Herdman, Michael (2015-01-01). Phylogenetic Relationships Among the Cyanobacteria Based on 16S rRNA Sequences. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. doi:10.1002/9781118960608.cbm00021. ISBN 9781118960608.
  8. ^ "Science Connection" (PDF). Federal Science Policy Office. 2013.
  9. ^ a b "les micro-organismes, héros de l'Antarctique" [Microorganisms, heroes of the Antarctic]. (in French). RTBF Auvio. 2016. Retrieved 2016-07-18.
  10. ^ "Federaal Wetenschapsbeleid - Politique scientifique fédérale - Belgian Science Policy Office" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-07-18.
  11. ^ "Antarctic Microbial Biodiversity: the Importance of Geographical and Ecological factors" (PDF). Belgian Science Policy. 2012.
  12. ^ "Holocene Climate Variability and Ecosystem Changes in the Costal "Holant"" (PDF). Belgian Science Policy. 2011.
  13. ^ "Climate Change and Antarctic Microbial Biodiversity" (PDF). Belgian Science Policy. 2012.
  14. ^ Pessi, Igor Stelmach; Maalouf, Pedro De Carvalho; Laughinghouse, Haywood Dail; Baurain, Denis; Wilmotte, Annick (2016-06-01). "On the use of high-throughput sequencing for the study of cyanobacterial diversity in Antarctic aquatic mats". Journal of Phycology. 52 (3): 356–368. doi:10.1111/jpy.12399. ISSN 1529-8817. PMID 27273529.
  15. ^ Wilmotte, A.; Demonceau, C.; Goffart, A.; Hecq, J. -H.; Demoulin, V.; Crossley, A. C. (2002-01-01). "Molecular and pigment studies of the picophytoplankton in a region of the Southern Ocean (42–54°S, 141–144°E) in March 1998". Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography. The Southern Ocean II: Climatic Changes and the Cycle of Carbon. 49 (16): 3351–3363. Bibcode:2002DSRII..49.3351W. doi:10.1016/S0967-0645(02)00087-5.
  16. ^ Waleron, Małgorzata; Waleron, Krzysztof; Vincent, Warwick F.; Wilmotte, Annick (2007-02-01). "Allochthonous inputs of riverine picocyanobacteria to coastal waters in the Arctic Ocean". FEMS Microbiology Ecology. 59 (2): 356–365. doi:10.1111/j.1574-6941.2006.00236.x. ISSN 1574-6941. PMID 17132157.
  17. ^ "BCCM/ULC Cyanobacteria Collection | BCCM Belgian Coordinated Collections of Microorganisms". Retrieved 2016-07-18.
  18. ^ "ATCM / CEP Contact Points". Retrieved 2016-07-18.
  19. ^ "BNCAR". Retrieved 2016-07-18.
  20. ^ "Membership". Retrieved 2016-07-18.
  21. ^ "Est-on en train de détruire l'Antarctique ?". ULg. Retrieved 2016-07-18.
  22. ^ "Annick Wilmotte". Retrieved 2016-07-18.
  23. ^ Strunecky, Otakar; Elster, Josef; Komarek, Jiri (2011). "Taxonomic revision of the freshwater cyanobacterium "Phormidium" murrayi = Wilmottia murrayi" (PDF). Fottea. 11: 57–71. doi:10.5507/fot.2011.007.

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