Phytoplankton ecology and physiology along environmental gradients

Our goal is to understand how nutrient and physico-chemical gradients shape the distribution, abundance and activity of environmentally and biogeochemically important phytoplankton groups, such as cyanobacteria and diatoms. We combine molecular tools, microscopy and flow cytometry to investigate the physiological and ecological responses of these organisms across a wide range of environmental conditions, using both laboratory cultures and natural populations of phytoplankton. Ultimately, this information will help us to predict to response of phytoplankton to future ocean conditions.
(Shown right: A phytoplankton hotspot (in red) localized at the intersection (yellow line) of offshore waters and coastal waters of the Northeast Pacific Ocean.)

Specific projects include:
  1. Distribution, abundance and activity of phytoplankton communities across oceanic fronts and characterization of the selective forces and mechanisms that shape these patterns (led by Francois Ribalet).
  2. Molecular and physiological responses of diatoms to increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere (led by Gwenn Hennon).