M.Sc. Fredrik Berggren
Oceanic phytoplankton are responsible for ≥ half of our planets primary production, thus half the carbon sequestration (oil). Grazing by zooplankton transports energy and matter to higher trophic levels, especially via copepods. Hence, plankton significantly affect the biosphere, to such extent that it alters the chemical and physical –parameters of the globe. For example, they are the cause of the Redfield ratio (106:16:1, C:N:P), i.e. the average nutrient composition.
However, because most plankton are microscopic organisms and phytoplankton being unicellular, research considered them as identical, i.e. looked at the averages of e.g. cell size in clonal cultures. Nonetheless, cell-to-cell specific variability was always evident in the scatter from phytoplankton analyses, especially flow cytometry.
Therefore, I will examine individuality of phytoplankton, primarily from a C:N:P perspective, investigating trait-variability within clonal cultures (Year-1). I’m Exposing algae to various nutrient conditions, under constant light and temperature, using air-bubbled Erlenmeyer flasks. I assort cells, based on size and pigments, with a MoFlo XDP – Coulter Counter, aiming to examine lipid and protein composition and potentially DNA-analysis. I will also investigate how this patchiness affect zooplankton population growth (Year-2). Lastly, I will observe the field and historical data, aiming to connect laboratories with ecological relevance (Year-3).
PACES II 2: Fragile coasts and shelf sea
PACES II 2.2: Species interactions in changing and exploited coastal seas