Ocean Bridges

linking the spatio-temporal scales of microbial processes in the ocean

Across scales

Marine microbes drive the cycling of the major life building blocks: carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus.

Their lives depend on a dynamic mosaic of environmental factors such as light, temperature and nutrients. Such factors vary across complex spatio-temporal scales in the ocean: from cell-to-molecule interactions, through community succession and up to global distributions.

Each of these factors is studied by a different discipline (e.g. physical oceanography, genetics, organic geochemistry). Hence, understanding how microbes function needs a cross-disciplinary approach capable of integrating several disciplines.

Our goal is to BRIDGE the spatio-temporal scales at which microbes and resources interact in the ocean via the combination of different oceanographic research approaches.

A cross-disciplinary approach

A recent publication has brought up the need to understand the ecology and diversity of marine microbes to predict climate change.

In the words of Shinichi Sunagawa (ETH-Zürich): “I do believe the interdisciplinary walls are currently very high. To bring them down, researchers will need to step out of our comfort zone. Targeted incentives and funding schemes will help to promote cross-disciplinary efforts between physical oceanographers, climate modelers and ocean microbial ecologists to better address planetary-scale questions".