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Dissecting the microbial foodweb: determining the influence of phytoplankton derived organic matter substrates on bacterial growth efficiency


Project Description

Project Rationale:
Bacterial growth plays a key role in regulating carbon and nutrients fluxes, and energy flow in marine ecosystems. The nutritional requirements of oceanic bacterioplankton are primarily met by organic matter produced in situ by the phytoplankton. This organic matter varies in terms of its chemical composition as a result of the species of phytoplankton from which it originated and also the mechanism by which it was released [e.g. 1]. Specifically, dissolved organic matter can be produced from phytoplankton by exudation, autolysis due to unfavorable conditions, or by their interaction with mortality agents such as grazers or pathogens. Data indicates the differences in organic matter composition associated with different sources influence bacterial growth efficiency, which is defined as the amount of new bacterial biomass produced per unit of organic carbon substrate assimilated. It is likely these differences are due to the bioavailability of the organic matter released [2] and also the specific nutritional needs of the bacterioplankton community present, i.e. which nutrients are limiting [3]. We seek to better understand the functioning of the oceanic microbial foodweb by examining the link between how organic matter is produced from phytoplankton and its effect on the growth efficiency and alleviation of nutrient limitation in bacterioplankton communities.

Funding Notes

You can apply for fully-funded studentships (stipend and fees) from INSPIRE if you:
Are a UK or EU national.
Have no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK.
Have been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the project.

Please click View Website for more information on eligibilty and how to apply

References

[1] Evans et al., The relative significance of viral lysis and microzooplankton grazing as pathways of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) cleavage: An Emiliania huxleyi culture study (2007) Limnology and Oceanography 52: 1036-1045. doi: 10.4319/lo.2007.52.3.1036
[2] Jiao et al., The microbial carbon pump and the oceanic recalcitrant dissolved organic matter pool. (2011) Nature reviews. Microbiology 9: 555. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2386-c5.
[3] Moore et al., Processes and patterns of oceanic nutrient limitation (2013) Nature Geoscience 6: 701-710. doi:10.1038/ngeo1765

How good is research at University of Southampton in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 68.62

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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