Think ‘small’ when reading the latest “Tide Bite” from Friday Harbor Labs: Professor Lisa Crummet writes about her research in the summer of 2016 at FHL on ocean acidification on marine bacteria. Note that she worked with a summer REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) intern. These are fully-funded internships at FHL which include a stipend as well as room and board. The application period for REU positions is fast approaching, and will start in winter 2017.
Ocean acidification, resulting from an increase in atmospheric CO2, is a growing concern as it is projected to impact all ocean regions and affect a wide variety of marine life. Although a significant amount of research has focused on studying the effects of ocean acidification (OA) on marine animal phyla and even eukaryotic phytoplankton, less attention has been focused on how OA affects marine bacteria. Both autotrophic (“producer”) and heterotrophic (“consumer”) bacteria play important roles in the marine food web; Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus (picocyanobacteria) alone contribute up to 50% of fixed carbon in the marine environment. The response of bacterioplankton to ocean acidification has been inconsistent across studies and more research is needed at multi-species and community scales as opposed to laboratory experiments on a single species of cultured bacteria.