Department of Ocean Sciences
University of California, Santa Cruz
From the "mouths" of microbes: Novel approaches to resolve the ecological complexity of marine microbial communities
Wednesday — April 3, 2013
Pacific Forum — 3:00 p.m.
Marine microbiological datasets are limited by sampling resolution over time and space and as a result, the fate of microbes important to the health of our planet remains undetermined in the face of global change. I will address what we’ve learned from new high-resolution biological sampling technologies (including MBARI’s osmosampler and Environmental Sample Processor) about controls on microbial distributions in the ocean. Two case studies at a diffuse flow site on the Juan de Fuca Ridge and in the photic zone of the oligotrophic north Pacific Ocean demonstrate that despite high variability, microbial change is closely linked with environmental change. We propose that high-resolution datasets contribute to more robust predictions of community structure in a range of oceanic conditions, and as such, certain microbial populations can serve as sentinel species by alerting us to future ecosystem change.