Marine bacterioplankton are the master recyclers of the oceans, playing a central role in driving global biogeochemical cycles of elements essential to life. Therefore, any process affecting marine bacterioplankton activity might have a huge impact on carbon fluxes and global climate.
Mesoscale hydrological features like fronts (i.e., a boundary between two distinct water masses) are widespread in the ocean and have commonly been associated with increased productivity.
However, the degree of impact of these mesoscale features on marine bacterioplankton and the molecular mechanism explaining how bacterioplankton respond to fronts are unknown.
Federico Baltar's group investigates the impact of the Subtropical Frontal Zone, conveniently located close to Otago, on bacterioplankton carbon cycling.