Title: Influence of phytoplankton cell size on biogeochemical cycling of carbon and nitrogen.
I am a marine microbial ecologist, and member of the Coastal Oceanography and Algal Research Team (COAST), which is part of the Aquatic Process Group (APG) in C3.
My PhD project aims to determine the influence of cell size and other traits in the transformation and elemental cycling of carbon and nitrogen in the ocean. I am using a combination of imaging, cell sizing and flow-cytometry to assess cell size distribution and abundance of populations, and isotopic tracers or oxygen measurements to study C and N utilisation. I will also be using a mixture of molecular (PCR, qPCR, sequencing, molecular probes, etc.) and traditional techniques to assess the diversity of these phytoplankton communities in different regions. Some of the samples I am working with come from Port Hacking (a coastal timeseries station southeast of Sydney). I will be assessing the primary productivity of phytoplankton on a monthly basis at 6 different depths. The results I will be generating will contribute to one of the main projects in COAST that aims to scale-up estimates of primary productivity in Australia.
I am also analysing samples from Sydney Harbour as part of a multi-institutional research project on the impact of storm water. Because Sydney Harbour is an estuarine system with greater anthropic influence, I expect to obtain different information from these samples that I will contrast with my results from Port Hacking.