What are you measuring?
I will be measuring the biodiversity of bacteria and viruses and look at the lipids composition under CO2 enrichment.
What techniques/instruments are you using?
In the field we will collect large quantities of seawater from each mesocosm bag and once in the lab we will filter the samples via a series of filters with a decreasing membrane pore size, in order to separate large organisms such as zooplankton and phytoplankton from bacteria and the much smaller viruses present in each sample. The samples will be then stored and further analyzed using a variety of molecular techniques (such as Next Generation Sequencing, DGGE, PCR and HPLC).
How frequently will you be taking measurements?
For the bacterial and virus diversity we will take measurements every two days, and if there is time in the spare day I will collect samples for the lipids analysis.
Why is it important?
Ocean acidification appears to be an increasing problem in many higher organisms that depend on calcium carbonate in some part of their life cycle and this is emphasised in most areas where human activity had an impact upon. The food web as we know it can not sustain itself without the aid of microorganisms at its bottom that drive the flow of energy, the recycling of nutrients and serve as natural biological catalysts. Therefore the study of the effect of ocean acidification on the microbial community and its diversity over time in such a remote, relatively untouched and preserved location is essential if we are to understand how human impact will change the ecosystem and the food webs within it as a whole in the future.