Molecular biodiversity of eukaryotic microbes
Eukaryotic microbes are a group of single celled organisms with particular relevance for marine ecosystems. Among them, a large group of organisms, the phytoplankton is able to convert atmospheric CO2 via photosynthesis into biomass. This process is called primary production and accounts for half of the global primary production. Beyond this, primary producers fuel marine food webs and contribute significantly to the export of biogenic carbon to the deep sea. The biodiversity, distribution and abundance of marine eukaryotic microbes is expected to profoundly impact marine ecosystem functioning and services, global biogeochemical cycles and climate. In order to understand and predict consequences of global environmental change for marine ecosystems and global biogeochemical cycles it is from central importance to assess the biodiversity and distribution of marine eukaryotic microbes regularly with adequate resolution and better understand their link to ecosystem processes.