Research develops understanding about carbon in oceans using microbes

By on April 1, 2015

New research by the University of Hawaii at Mānoa has found that microbes behave in synchrony in different parts of the world, shedding light on how conditions such as the carbon cycle affect life in different ocean ecosystems.

The energy released from microbes have shown that they are largely unaffected by the conditions of the water. They perform in unison from coastal waters in California that experience colder temperatures to the warmer temperatures off the shores of Hawaii.

“Each day, as sunlight hits the water, a very highly orchestrated cascade of species-specific activities takes place, with each microbe chiming in at a very precise time, each and every day,” said Edward DeLong, UHM professor and senior author of the paper.

According to the research, ocean microbes absorb a large amount of carbon dioxide, so the newfound order amongst the microbes has provided an understanding for factors that shape large-scale carbon cycling in the biosphere.

“This sort of predictable pattern may allow us to better predict the specific timing of matter and energy transformations that are catalyzed by microbes on a daily basis,” said DeLong.

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