Exploring wild microbial and viral community diversity through time and space in the B2 Ocean
Recent conceptual advances in the functioning of the oceans have recognized the importance of microbes in driving marine biogeochemical cycles and of viruses in driving the evolutionary underpinnings of microbial processes through mortality and modulation of host microbial metabolisms. Viruses can therefore be a driving evolutionary force in marine microbial processes and significantly impact global biogeochemistry. In spite of the great importance of both ocean viruses and their microbes, technical challenges related to the examination of viral diversity and the spatial and temporal scales of sampling has limited our understanding of their functioning in the wild. The Biosphere 2 ocean can serve as a complex, yet controlled, sampling site to test methodologies for understanding complex communities in the wild.
Testing a molecular toolkit across spatial scales
The Biosphere 2 Ocean will be used to experimentally test novel methodologies being developed for the TARA Oceans around-the-world sampling project. TARA Oceans is a 3-year scientific research expedition (September 2009-2012) with strengths in ship-board scientific sampling, analyses and archiving (e.g., flow cytometer, underwater video profiler for zooplankton and phytoplankton, CTD for depth profiling, confocal and epifluorescence microscopy). Following the development of optimized methods, we will experimentally investigate the impacts of spatial scaling on diversity estimates, thereby addressing real-world challenges to understanding complex communities in the wild.
For questions contact Matthew Sullivan firstname.lastname@example.org.