Characterization of bacterium-phytoplankton associations in marine waters


Microbial interactions greatly influence marine ecosystem functioning. Thus the identification of previously unknown species-specific associations between microbes is a prerequisite for investigating their roles in microbial food webs and impacts on processing of organic matter and biogeochemical cycling dynamics. Despite of this little is known about the ecological functions and characteristics of associations between marine microorganisms. The aim of this project is to identify novel associations between microbes that have a central role in biogeochemical processes. From seawater samples, associations between heterotrophic bacteria and photosynthetic picoeukaryotes are identified using fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) followed by molecular screening methods including high throughput sequencing and microbial tools. With these techniques, co-occurrence patterns within sorted populations and on the single cell level can be identified. The metabolic pathways and the genetic characteristics of the consortia are further investigated through targeted metagenomics. 


This research is partially funded by an international postdoc grant from the Swedish Research Council to Hanna Farnelid.

Image by Hanna Farnelid