Research Location: Coral Reefs of Moorea
Coral reefs are highly productive ecosystems that develop and thrive within the oligotrophic tropical and subtropical oceans. Microbial communities play a dominant biogeochemical role in both benthic and water column of reefs, with more than half of the organic matter production being cycled by heterotrophic microbial communities. As part of a collaborative project with the Moorea Coral Reef Long Term Ecological Research (MCR-LTER) in French Polynesia we are interested in the microbial processes and microbial assemblages that interact with the organic matter in the reef systems.
Despite the relatively high biological productivity associated with the coral reef system of Moorea we observe that the dissolved organic matter is depleted relative to the oligotrophic ocean water that bathes the island. We also observe unique microbial assemblages in the back reefs of Moorea. The factors that affect microbial processes and community and their subsequent control on DOM biogeochemistry is our main research focus in these coral reef projects.