Microbes that produce extracellular enzymes are critical drivers of nutrient cycling in marine ecosystems. We are collaborating with Adam Martiny and Sunny Jiang to monitor extracellular enzyme activities and microbial communities at high temporal resolution off the coast of Newport Beach. Extracellular enzymes might provide useful indicators of nutrient availability and cycling rates, and may also help to regenerate nutrients that fuel phytoplankton growth. Although nutrient recycling is a critical ecosystem function, it may contribute to toxic algal blooms in nutrient-rich coastal waters. Thus we are measuring extracellular enzymes to examine the functional role of heterotrophic bacteria in the coastal ocean in relation to water quality.
Funded by NSF Evolutionary Processes