The oceans contain the largest reservoir of rapidly exchangeable carbon yet also effectively sequester carbon from the atmosphere for thousands of years. The drivers of this delicate equilibrium are the abundant marine microbial communities ubiquitously present in the Earth’s oceans. This project will provide insight into the major metabolic pathways and key carbon compounds involved in how organic carbon is produced, cycled, and sequestered in the ocean today, and how microbial communities regulate these pathways and compounds across ocean depths and major water masses. By distinguishing between the core genes and pathways essential to this stewardship of the marine carbon cycle, and the accessory genes present in particular regions, microhabitats, or specific species, researchers hope to gain insights into how this global metabolic machinery may re-invent itself in a warmer ocean.
Proposer’s Name: Steven Hallam, University of British Columbia (Canada)