Diatom-bacteria Interactions

Marine planktonic communities contain a phylogenetically diverse array of species. The interactions among these species and their impacts on community dynamics and biogeochemical cycling are for the most part, a mystery. This project seeks to understand the interactions between diatoms and bacteria. We are examining the natural habitat to identify whether there are particular associations of bacteria with diatoms. In the lab, we are growing members of each group under a variety of conditions, from stressful to stress free. This will allow us to determine if, how and when they benefit from each other, particularly when living in close contact. The outcomes of this project will lead to new insights into the kinds of relationships that are formed by these two key groups and how those relationships help to support healthy marine food webs. This research is being funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and is being conducted in collaboration with Professor Dana Hunt at Duke University.