PhD student position available in new NSF project: “Zooplankton mediation of particle flux” in collaboration with Leocadio Blanco-Bercial and Amy Maas, Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences

PhD student position available in new NSF project: “Zooplankton mediation of particle flux” in collaboration with Leocadio Blanco-Bercial and Amy Maas, Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences

What is our research all about? We will study the role that planktonic animals such as copepods, krill and diverse pelagic mollusks, salps and even protistan grazers have in particle formation in the ocean. This question is important for our understanding of the oceanic ‘biological carbon pump’, the export of dissolved and particulate organic carbon to the deep ocean, which is a significant driver of the atmospheric carbon uptake by the oceans. We will carry out this research at the Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study (BATS) in the Sargasso Sea, a subtropical ocean time-series station in the eastern North Atlantic, and additionally conduct experiments in the laboratories at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS). Zooplankton are known to play a major role in both the formation and consumption of sinking particles, mainly by their feeding activities and their production of sinking fecal pellets.     However, little is known about the roles of specific taxonomic populations. The fecal pellets also feed populations of flux feeders a few hundred meters deep that never migrate, but simply feed on the sinking particles. We hypothesize that these deep populations of flux feeders modify the sinking particles by breaking them up, eating them, and by producing their own fecal pellets, influencing the efficiency of the Biological Carbon Pump in yet unknown ways. We plan to test this hypothesis by using a special net (MOCNESS) to determine which populations are stationary or migrating. In addition, we will collect sinking particles, including fecal pellets, using drifting particle interceptor traps equipped with gel-filled cups.  Flux of different particle types collected in gel-traps and of the fecal...
2020 Ocean Sciences Meeting

2020 Ocean Sciences Meeting

We were at the 2020 Ocean Sciences Meeting, which took place in San Diego, CA this past February. Kassie gave a talk on her latest paper, showcasing her results on the microbial communities that grow on different types of microplastics in the Caribbean Sea (check out this news post to learn more about the project!). Bianca presented a poster on her and Catrina’s latest results on the aggregation and production of TEP by the eukaryotic picophytoplankton Minidiscus trioculatus and Micromonas...

Summer in the Sargasso Sea

The lab has been very busy this summer with a lot of field work and new collaborations! This last May we worked aboard the R/V Atlantic Explorer, in collaboration with Dr. Amy Maas from the Bermuda Institute for Ocean Sciences (BIOS), with the goal of studying the microbiome of zooplankton fecal pellets and the link to diel vertical migrations/circadian rhythms. We were also testing the role of zooplankton in particle formation and aggregation of Sargasso Sea plankton communities. The Neuer Lab’s role was to sample zooplankton fecal pellets all-around-the-clock, as well as perform the zooplankton-amended aggregation experiments. Check out the article on this expedition featured in The Bermudian Magazine! In June we were back aboard the R/V AE out in the Sargasso Sea to sample intact sinking particles using gel traps! The picked particles will be subjected to amplicon sequencing analyses, as well as microscopy using FISH-probes in collaboration with Dr. Rachel Parsons and the Microbial Ecology Laboratory...