Carina Bunse has written a thesis on marine bacteria and how they respond to the changes in their environment. Bacteria affect nutrient turnover in the Baltic Sea and with it the balance of the sea. As they are invisible, our knowledge of marine bacteria is still limited. By studying these microbes and their genes, we can learn more about how the ocean will behave in the future.
In her research, Carina and her colleagues discovered that marine bacteria can alter genes called proteorhodopsins for capturing energy from light, which they use to change their metabolism. This has helped researchers to understand that marine bacteria can tolerate lowered levels of pH in the sea, but the process is especially energy intensive, potentially affecting them during longer periods of pH stress such as ocean acidification.
Bacteria affect the nutrient turnover Baltic Sea. It is therefore vital to understand when this process happens, what the effect of it is, and how we can create a balanced sea in the future. Carina’s thesis is a piece of the puzzle in ultimately understanding the marine nutrient chain, leading us to predict how the Baltic Sea will respond to environmental changes.
Linnaeus University (via Phys.org), 30 January 2018. Press release.