Surviving in Iron-Deprived Oceans: Molecular Insights into Diatoms
Adrian Marchetti, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
30 Nov 2012
Diatoms are responsible for a large majority of marine primary productivity and are the base of many marine food webs. Yet in 30-40% of the world’s oceans, diatom growth is limited by the availability of iron. Iron-deprived oceans are sporadically pulsed with iron inputs via dust or lateral advection from continental margins, which often result in massive diatom blooms in these regions. Learning the strategies diatoms invoke to cope with variable iron concentrations is critical to our understanding of what influences the distribution and abundance of diatoms as well as their impact on ocean biogeochemistry. Recent sequencing efforts of whole genomes and expressed sequence tags from a variety of diatoms have provided new insights into how certain diatoms have adapted to their environment. In addition, meta-omic approaches have become a useful tool in assessing overall phytoplankton composition and inferred metabolic activities. In this talk, I will share recent findings obtained using molecular approaches ranging from the analysis of single genes within laboratory cultures to community transcriptomics within natural mixed assemblages that demonstrate how diatoms cope under iron-limiting conditions and how they respond to iron enrichment.
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