Awards keep coming for C3 researcher
6 January, 2016
C3 marine microbiologist Dr Jean-Baptiste Raina has capped off an outstanding 2015 with the announcement that he is a recipient of a J.G. Russell Award for 2016, putting him in the top tier of early career researchers in Australia.
Nominations aren’t sought for this award, instead awardees are chosen from the recipients of the Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRA). The Australian Academy of Science website notes that the J.G. Russell Award is aimed at “financially helping talented younger researchers in the basic sciences as a token of the community’s regard for them. It recognises the costs involved in experimental research, and can be used towards the costs of equipment, maintenance, and travel.”
Dr Raina was also awarded one of only 15 UTS Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellowships for 2016.
His DECRA project “Unlocking the role of marine microbes in the global carbon cycle” aims to unravel microbiological processes in the ocean to help quantify the ecosystem services carried out by microbes that support our economy and environment.
“By recycling vital nutrients, microbes form the basis of the marine food web. In Australia, their contributions support fisheries worth $4.2 billion,” Dr Raina says.
“Their role in carbon cycling also controls our climate. Yet, their direct productivity remains unquantified”.
Dr Raina says that technical limitations have restricted our ability to identify the key microbes most responsible for ocean carbon cycling, and to measure their impact.
“The project plans to combine new approaches in microfluidics, chemistry and oceanography to quantify carbon uptake by individual microbes and provide new understanding of microbe-mediated chemical cycling processes.”
“Ultimately we want to know how much of the carbon cycled by marine microbes ends up in the atmosphere, as carbon dioxide, and how much falls through the water column, sinking to the ocean floor where it is locked away for millennia.”
“Any information we get will be new and will better inform current climate change modelling,” Dr Raina says.
Dr Raina will undertake the research within the C3 Ocean Microbiology team led by Associate Professor Justin Seymour.