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Centre for

Marine Biodiversity and Biotechnology

From the shoreline to the deep ocean, tackling issues from pure ecology
and physiology to aquaculture, marine spatial planning and conservation.

Marine microbial ecology

Beyond what the eye can see, our oceans are teeming with an incredible abundance of microscopic life. A mere teaspoon of seawater can contain on average one million bacteria and up to ten million viruses. Several important microbial and biogeochemical processes take place in the ocean that have a significant impact to our climate and life on earth. In order to help mitigate threats to these systems, particularly from human activities, it is important to understand to our fullest potential the microbial diversity in the ocean, what functions it is capable of, and how it responds to perturbations to its environment.

At CMBB we use state-of-the-art molecular (e.g. DNA-SIP, FISH, pyrosequencing) and microbiological techniques to reveal previously unknown diversity and functions of marine bacteria and their symbiosis with other organisms.

Current projects include:

  • Whole genome sequencing of novel oil-degrading microorganisms. US Department of Energy - Joint Genome Institute (DOE-JGI).
  • Whole genome sequencing of isolated oil-degrading microorganisms isolated from the Gulf of Mexico during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Joint Genome Institute (DOE-JGI); collaboration with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA.
  • Review of emerging contaminants of concern in waters, with a specific focus on micro-plastics and nano-materials: sources, impacts, risks and monitoring of water-related 'known-unknowns'. Centre for Expertise for Waters (CREW).
  • Understanding interactions between oil-degrading bacteria and algae. James-Watt PhD Scholarship.
  • Water Neutral Developments: How to successfully integrate micro-algal systems into wastewater management. James-Watt PhD Scholarship.
  • High-resolution probing of the microbiota living associated with the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa in the North Atlantic. MASTS.
  • Marine micro-algae as global reservoir of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon degraders (MARPAH). European Commission Marie Curie Fellowship.