Vacant Positions

Master Thesis Topic

Does cryptic carbon transfer by autotrophic Thaumarchaeota support heterotrophic metabolism in the deep oceanic water column?



Heterotrophic deep sea prokaryotes are believed to rely on organic matter that is produced in the sunlit surface ocean by phytoplankton and consecutively transported into deeper water layers. However, less than 1% of the organic matter produced reaches the bathypelagic (> 2000m depth), making organic carbon a limited resource in the deep ocean. We hypothesize that autotrophic Thaumarchaeota play an important role as "secondary producers" of organic carbon and thus supporting heterotrophic metabolism in deep water layers.


Project outline:

The project includes cultivation of established Thaumarchaeota cultures as well as exo-metabolite extraction and incubation experiments. Field work will be carried out in Banyuls, France between 26 June - 8 July. Carbon respiration/incorporation rates will be determined and active bacterial communities will be analyzed using stable isotope probing and amplicon sequencing.

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