Algal physiology in a changing world
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Diatom silicification in a high CO2 ocean
D iatoms are a dominant group of marine microorganisms that build thick, glass-like cell walls of silica through the process of silicification. Because of their unique architecture, diatoms sink quickly to the ocean floor, and are therefore central for removal of carbon and silica from the biosphere. To-date, little is known of the effect of CO2-induced ocean acidification on this important process, limiting our ability to predict future ocean carbon cycling and functioning.

T his project represents an emerging area of research, and building on our recent findings we will extend our investigations to assess how climate change induced shifts in diatom physiology and community composition impact silicification, health and nutritional composition of marine diatoms, with the specific aims to 1) quantify changes to silicification with CO2 enrichment at the species level 2) assess changes in productivity and macromolecular composition under high CO2 and 3) reveal whether CO2-induced shifts in diatom silicification are imprinted in the diatom proteome – uncovering the mechanism for loss of silicification.

Collaborators:  Dr Daniel Aagren Nielsen | Dr Kai Schulz (SCU)
Funding:  Pending..
Outputs:  Petrou et al. 2019
Diatom in the ocean biological carbon pump.

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