With climate change expected to intensify, the frequency of marine upwelling events off the coast of Chile, and globally, are predicted to increase. This will result in substantial biogeochemical changes throughout the local system that could be reflected on a global scale. Interestingly, microbiological processes are largely ignored in climate change modeling, even though they are extremely important to the ecological balance. For instance, methane supersaturation of surface waters is now hypothesized to be caused by microbial metabolism. To that end, my project seeks to characterize the coupling of methylotrophy, methanogenesis and methanotrophy throughout the water column in this coastal upwelling system, and in other systems of interest in the future. This work integrates 16S rRNA gene sequencing, metagenomics, qPCR and metatranscriptomics with complementary biogeochemical and oceanographic data. Importantly, identification of key genes involved in the elusive aerobic methane production (methylotrophy) pathway will allow for a better understanding of the previously unexplainable methane supersaturation of surface waters. This information will ultimately help to quantify microbial methane flux to the atmosphere under dynamic conditions, which will improve the accuracy of climate change modeling.
- Microbial genomics
- Marine microbiology
- Microbial methane cycling
EducationPhD. Environmental Microbiology
University of Calgary, CanadaMASc. Biological Engineering
Dalhousie University, Halifax, CanadaBSc. Microbiology & Immunology
Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada