Prochlorococcus lives by day, dies by night

Prochlorococcus lives by day, dies by night
Francois Ribalet and co-authors have published a new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences where they used novel flow cytometry approaches to generate continuous estimates of growth and mortality rates of the abundant cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus across 2900 km of the subtropical Pacific gyre. They show that Prochlorococcus mortality is tightly synchronized to the day/night cycle, with essentially no cell loss during the day. This means that a pulse of Prochlorococcus-derived organic compounds is propagated each night through the food web, stabilizing multiple trophic interactions.