Dr. Adrian Marchetti from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Marine Sciences will present a seminar titled, Insights into phytoplankton evolution and ecology through environmental genomics: individual genes to community transcriptomics.
Phytoplankton are responsible for a large majority of global primary productivity and are the base of many aquatic food webs. Their evolution is complex and their diversity is staggering. Recent sequencing efforts of whole genomes and transcriptomes from a variety of phytoplankton have provided new insights into their capacity to acclimate and adapt to their environment. In addition, environmental genomic approaches have become a useful tool in assessing overall phytoplankton composition and inferred metabolic activities under specific environmental conditions. In this talk, I will share our recent findings from the analysis of single genes within phytoplankton isolates to community transcriptomics within natural mixed assemblages that demonstrate the power of combining novel molecular techniques with more traditional approaches to examine phytoplankton evolution and ecology. As examples, we are currently investigating the role of proteorhodopsins within oceanic diatoms and the usefulness of incorporating metatranscriptomics as part of water quality monitoring efforts within the Neuse River Estuary.