Marine Plankton Communities

About 50% of global primary production is carried out by marine phytoplankton. What happens to this newly produced biomass subsequently - whether it feeds larger animals, is broken down by microbes or is exported to ocean depths - depends largely on the ensemble plankton community: the producers, the consumers, as well as the weird mixotrophs that do a bit of both.

Trait-based Approach

Our goal is to develop a mechanistically underpinned trait-based model of marine ecosystems, ranging across trophic levels from bacteria to zooplankton. The trait-based approach allows us to focus on fundamental trade-offs that determine how various types plankton perform in the ever-changing conditions of natural systems. 

The California Current Ecosystem

The model will be applied to the highly productive California Current system, and will be informed and tested against observations supplied by an autonomous submersible vehicle – the Zooglider – as it sails through this complex underwater environment.