Seaweeds are broadly distributed and represent an important source of secondary metabolites (e.g., halogenated compounds, polyphenols) eliciting various pharmacological activities and playing a relevant ecological role in the anti-epibiosis. Importantly, host (as known as basibiont such as algae)–microbe (as known as epibiont such as bacteria) interaction (as known as halobiont) is a driving force for coevolution in the marine environment. Nevertheless, halobionts may be fundamental (harmless) or detrimental (harmful) to the functioning of the host. In addition to biotic factors, abiotic factors (e.g., pH, salinity, temperature, nutrients) regulate halobionts. Spatiotemporal and functional exploration of such dynamic interactions appear crucial. Indeed, environmental stress in a constantly changing ocean may disturb complex mutualistic relations, through mechanisms involving host chemical defense strategies (e.g., secretion of secondary metabolites and antifouling chemicals by quorum sensing). It is worth mentioning that many of bioactive compounds, such as terpenoids, previously attributed to macroalgae are in fact produced or metabolized by their associated microorganisms (e.g., bacteria, fungi, viruses, parasites). Eventually, recent metagenomics analyses suggest that microbes may have acquired seaweed associated genes because of increased seaweed in diets. This article retrospectively reviews pertinent studies on the spatiotemporal and functional seaweed-associated microbiota interactions which can lead to the production of bioactive compounds with high antifouling, theranostic, and biotechnological potential.
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