Azores Oceanic Microbes: understanding the structure and dynamics of microbial communities through ocean space and time scales

  • Estado
  • Nome
    Clara Ângela Magalhães Loureiro
  • Entidade de acolhimento


Despite the technological evolution, the oceans remain extremely under sampled, in both time and space. The emergence of sustained time-series measurements is as important as undeniable. Large-scale ecological experiments that are centered on microbial community structure and its interaction with the ocean ecosystem dynamic symbolize a fruitful area for future development (KARL & PROCTOR, 2007). Formidable challenges remain however unsolved, such as quantifying accurately the energy and material flux through newly recognized marine microbial plankton metabolic pathways and understanding better the net metabolic balance of the ocean surface waters.

The main aim of this work is to describe for the first time the microbial planktonic community structure and dynamics within the Azores plateau region. This work results from a challenge to describe an important but overlooked community at the ocean sea surface that is exposed to extreme environmental changes caused by different physical, chemical and biological factors of this particular portion of the water column.
In order to determine spatial/temporal variations, the abundance and microbial community structure is going to be assessed through the use of molecular techniques. The community structure is going to be correlated with environmental factors (in situ and derived by satellite) such as e.g. sea surface temperature, mean geostrophic currents, chlorophyll a, and nutrients concentration). The metadata set will be built from in situ measurements and water sample collections performed during several cruises.
Combining the new technologies (modern multi-omics and informatics tools) with traditional spatial-temporal analysis methods will allow insight into the microbial communities’ patterns and how the processes underlying these patterns will shape the microbial community. The results of this work are expected to contribute significantly to microbialplankton climate variability studies in the NE Atlantic region, providing an important step towards the improvement and reshaping of ecosystem based management models for the region.