Tag Archives: phytoplankton

Harvey lab spends May in Norway

Elizabeth Harvey and her research team traveled to Bergen, Norway in early May for a month’s worth of experiments at the Norwegian National Mesocosm Centre at the Espegrend Marine Biological Station.

l-r Kyle Mayers (Univ of Southampton), Thais Bittar, Sean Anderson and Karrie Bulski

In addition to Harvey, the team included Thaiss Bittar, Karrie Bulski, Patrick Duffy and Sean Anderson. They and their colleagues blogged about their adventures at: https://fjordphytoplankton.wordpress.com/

Kneeling (l-r) Anna Schrecengost (Haverford College), Patrick Duffy, Sean Anderson. Standing (l-r) Kyle Mayers (University of Southhampton), Karrie Bulski, Thais Bittar, Elizabeth Harvey, Kristen Whalen (Haverford College)


Sydney Plummer awarded NSF fellowship

Sydney Plummer has been awarded an NSF graduate fellowship to investigate the ecophysiological roles of phytoplankton-derived reactive oxygen species.

Sydney is a Ph.D. student through the Integrated Life Sciences program at the University of Georgia. She is currently working in Julia Diaz’s lab. Her project involves studying superoxide production by phytoplankton in the presence of grazing predator species. Her hobbies include reading, camping, and going on adventures.

The fellowship of the National Science Foundation will allow her to advance the current understanding of factors that underlie the structure and productivity of marine microbial communities, coupled biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nutrients, and metals, and thereby provide implications for marine ecosystem health and climate.

Julia Diaz, her doctoral advisor, says “Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are typically considered toxic chemicals that are harmful to life. I am excited that Sydney’s PhD research will challenge this paradigm by investigating the possible beneficial roles of ROS in phytoplankton, such as growth promotion and defense against zooplankton grazers.”

Skidaway scientists head to Norway for phytoplankton research

A team of UGA Skidaway Institute scientists, led by Elizabeth Harvey, will be spending the next few weeks at a sophisticated mesocosm facility near Bergen, Norway. The team will be at will be at the station to study the interaction of the globally important phytoplankton Emiliania huxleyi (E. hux) with the viruses that infect and kill E. hux cells. You can follow along with the team and their international collaborators through their blog.


Liz Harvey to co-chair ASLO session

Liz Harvey will co-lead a special session entitled “Louder than words: chemical communication structures marine ecosystems” during the 2017 ASLO Meeting, February 26-March 3, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the marine environment, chemical communication mediates species interactions thereby playing a central role in influencing population-level and large-scale oceanographic processes. This interdisciplinary session will include studies from the intertidal to the open ocean that investigate how chemical cues regulate processes such as behavior, reproduction, foraging strategies, settlement, mortality, defense, competition, and the transfer of energy and nutrients within and among ecosystems.

Kristen Whalen of Haverford College will co-chair the session with Liz.

Julia Diaz receives faculty research grant

Skidaway Institute scientist Julia Diaz has received a $10 thousand faculty research grant from the UGA Vice President of Research. Julia will use the grant to continue her research into diatom exoenzymes as potential drivers of marine biogeochemistry.


According to Julia, diatoms are critical members of marine phytoplankton communities, where they are responsible for roughly 40 percent of global primary productivity. By shaping the global biogeochemical cycles of carbon, oxygen, and nutrients such as phosphorus, diatoms influence marine ecosystem health, control the ocean’s ability to absorb the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, and thereby shape the ocean’s role in the global climate system.

“Over the past decade, I have been studying the cellular fluxes and large-scale environmental implications of phosphorus acquisition and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production by diatoms,” Juia said. “Through my previous research, I have identified key diatom-driven biogeochemical transformations of phosphorus and reactive oxygen species for which no enzymatic mechanism is currently known. However, these data indicate a clear role for extracellular enzymes.”

Julia’s larger goal is to develop a research program examining the biogeochemical processes that shape marine ecosystem health, natural resources and climate. “The aim of this proposed research is to uncover the molecular underpinnings of these key, diatom-driven transformations of phosphorus and ROS,” she said.

MAREX continues phytoplankton monitoring with citizen scientists

MAREX citizen science volunteers along with Georgia Sea Grant Interns Cara Lin, Sean Russell, and Maeve Snyder attended a Phytoplankton Monitoring Network (PMN) training session at Burton 4-H center on Tybee Island.

Steve Morton of the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science presented on the history and application of the PMN and provided training in identification of common phytoplankton groups. Jennifer Fuquay discussed future opportunities for citizen scientists to monitor marine microplastics.

Since 2001, the PMN has identified 250 algal blooms in North America, of which 45 were toxin-producing. Citizen scientists at MAREX continue their work with PMN to monitor for harmful algal blooms in the Skidaway River in order to prevent negative human health and economic impacts. 250 sampling sites throughout the US that are monitored by 235 citizen science groups.