COG3 Seminar - Dr. Bill Orsi (LMU Munich)

Speaker: 
Dr. Bill Orsi (LMU Munich)
Date: 
Friday, April 16, 2021 - 10:00am to 11:00am
Location: 
Virtual

Quantitative aquatic microbial ecology through stable isotope probing

Microorganisms influence the composition of the atmosphere, the cycling of elements within and through ecosystems, the functioning of agricultural ecosystems on which humans depend, and human health. Microorganisms are also the most metabolically flexible, and the most taxonomically and evolutionarily diverse organisms on Earth. Yet deciphering how that diversity imprints on ecosystem processes they influence has proven challenging, because of the overwhelming complexity of microbial communities, and because of the difficulty of quantifying how microbial taxa assimilate and transform elements in the environment. In this talk, I will discuss new approaches using quantitative stable isotope probing to explore how the diversity and physiology of microorganisms influence aquatic carbon cycling. I will focus on studies spanning across a range of aquatic environments ranging from coastal marine, deep sea, and deep subsurface hydrothermal settings. Historically, the diversity, complexity, and intractability of microbial ecosystems has relegated their study to either a reductionist descriptive tradition in microbial ecology or to a simplistically quantitative one in biogeochemistry. Yet, new ideas and tools are poised to push microbial ecology forward to a point where it can more meaningfully integrate with ecological fields at larger scales, from ecosystems to the globe.

About this Series:

The Chemical Oceanography, Geology, Geochemistry, and Geobiology Seminar [COG3] is a student-run seminar series. Topics include chemical oceanography, geology, geochemistry, and geobiology. The seminars take place on Fridays from 10-11am, unless otherwise noted (term-time only). Contact: cog3_seminar_organizers@mit.edu