> Oceanography > Issues > Archive > Volume 20, Number 2

2007, Oceanography 20(2):34–46, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2007.46

Patterns and Prediction in Microbial Oceanography

Authors | First Paragraph | Full Article | Citation


John J. Cullen | Department of Oceanography, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

W. Ford Doolittle | Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Simon A. Levin | Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA

William K.W. Li | Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada


First Paragraph

Microbes are integral to the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems, and to the chemistry of the ocean and its interaction with the atmosphere. They mediate the chemical transformations that over geological time have determined the composition of our atmosphere (Fennel et al., 2005) and the balance of major nutrients in the sea (Arrigo, 2005). These nutrients ultimately determine how much and what kinds of marine life can be supported in surface waters, the amount of primary production that can be transferred to higher trophic levels, and how much carbon is stored in the deep ocean (Falkowski et al., 1998). Microbes in the ocean are thus directly and indirectly sensitive to, and part of, the ocean's response to global change. The manifestations of global change include not only the changes in ocean temperature, circulation, pH, and nutrient availability linked to increasing greenhouse gases, but also the profound alterations of the marine environment associated with a growing and rapidly developing human population—habitat destruction, coastal eutrophication, pollution (GESAMP, 2001), and the elimination of larger predators by fishing, leading to fundamental alterations in food webs (Pauly et al., 1998; Myers et al., 2007).


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Cullen, J.J., W.F. Doolittle, S.A. Levin, and W.K.W. Li. 2007. Patterns and prediction in microbial oceanography. Oceanography 20(2):34–46, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2007.46.