One of the many valuable aspects of our large culture collection is the chance to collaborate with other labs that are interested in microorganisms that we’re not investigating. Dr. Haiwei Luo’s group at The Chinese University of Hong Kong are experts in Roseobacter (Alphaproteobacteria) genomics, evolution, and ecology. We’ve cultured a number of Roseobacter species over the years, which has helped us facilitate some very interesting work by the Luo lab. The first publication from our collaboration has now been published in the ISME Journal. Luo’s group led the study, with first author graduate student Xiaoyuan Feng, which incorporated cultures and genomes from three labs, including ours and that of Dr. Yanlin Zhao at the Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, with whom I was a postdoc in the Giovannoni Lab many years ago. The research defines a new subset of Roseobacter strains, designated the ‘CHUG’, which, contrary to many Roseobacters, appear to have evolved a planktonic “free-living” lifestyle that is not directly dependent on phytoplankton symbioses. It was a pleasure to be involved in this work and we’re excited to continue this fruitful collaboration!