The fall 2015 was a busy time for the Phytoplankton Ecology Laboratory at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL). Things kicked off in late September with DISL Senior Marine Scientist Jeffrey Krause traveling to l'Aber-Wrac'h, a small village in Brittany, France to participate in "Silicamics," a meeting dedicated to understanding the molecular underpinnings for how diatoms, a group of microscopic algae, produce their intricate glass shells and the ramifications of diatoms within the global carbon cycle.
Diatoms are globally important, as they produce breathable oxygen in quantities that equal or can exceed that of all the rainforests combined! Krause was invited to present work conducted off the California central coast. This meeting included presentations from ~35 scientists, representing institutes in 10 countries. Such a unique gathering is rare and has enabled collaboration for writing synthesis papers regarding the current state of our knowledge in this sub-discipline.
Continuing the tour of France, Krause was invited to present results from laboratory experiments conducted at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and field observations in the North Atlantic at the Institut Mediterraneen d'Oceanologie in Marseille, France. The group at Marseille is globally renowned for their work in diatom elemental cycling, and this experience sets the groundwork for future collaborative opportunities for student internships between our laboratories. Not only was this an excellent opportunity to communicate scientific findings to an international audience, it was a cultural experience to walk Marseille's Old Port, climb the city's highest natural elevation to Notre-Dame de la Garde, and eat their famed seafood stew, bouillabaisse.
After returning from France, we quickly prepared for going to sea. Three members of the laboratory, Krause, technician Sydney Acton and University of South Alabama Ph.D. student Israel Marquez, participated in a research expedition aboard the R/V Pt. Sur on the Mississippi-Alabama shelf in late October and November. This research was funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) with an award to the Consortium for Oil Spill Exposure Pathways in Coastal River-Dominated Ecosystems (CONCORDE). Krause is involved with CONCORDE and the GoMRI consortium based at DISL, the Alabama Center for Ecological Resilience (ACER).
The lab conducted research for both projects to examine the fine-scale spatial structure of microalgae, variability in their growth under the influence of freshwater discharge, and their resilience to weathered crude oil. Despite the weather, we had a successful fall trip. The Phytoplankton Ecology Laboratory at DISL is preparing for an even busier 2016!
If you are interested in graduate study, paid internships or volunteering in the Phytoplankton Ecology Laboratory, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about current opportunities.