Complex trophic interactions of marine microbial eukaryotes

Collaborators: Patrick Keeling (UBC), Alexandra Worden (MBARI), Thomas Richards (U. Exeter)

Ecological interactions determine community composition and therefore the flow of carbon and nutrients through ecosystems. Like some prokaryotic taxa, specific microbial eukaryotic taxa can act as keystone species determining community assembly through primary production, grazing, symbiosis, parasitism and recycling of biological material. Although photosynthetic eukaryotes have been studied intensively, heterotrophic and mixotrophic eukaryotes are among the most poorly studied marine microbes. This project addresses the complex interactions among microbial eukaryotes and between other domains by investigating five model trophic interactions in the central California Current system.

Image credit: William Orsi