Part Plant, Part Animal: All Mixotroph!

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Holly

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Moeller

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Project Description

Much of the work in the Moeller Lab involves mixotrophs, organisms that are capable of *both* photosynthesis and heterotrophy! In marine systems, these jacks-of-all-trades are common in the open ocean gyres, where they're capable of surviving despite depleted nutrients. One outstanding question in our field is how these mixotrophs will respond to future ocean conditions. One physiological hypothesis is that they will become relatively more heterotrophic at higher temperatures, meaning that as the climate warms, they'll shift toward "sources" rather than "sinks" of carbon dioxide. One of our current research projects tests whether this hypothesis will hold over evolutionary time by exposing different lineages of mixotrophs to artificially elevated temperatures and monitoring their growth and photophysiology.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduates involved in this project will be immersed in the day-to-day work of a research lab. They will be involved in the transfer, maintenance, and evaluation of evolving mixotroph lineages, including data collection and data analysis. Students will also be encouraged to develop their own, parallel and independent, projects taking advantage of the evolution experiment.

Requirements/Application Instructions

Students must be passionate about ecology and evolution, enthusiastic about microbial ecology, and attentive to detail. Previous experience with sterile technique, pipetting, and cell culture is ideal, but not critical. The Moeller Lab is a collaborative environment: Students should be excited to discuss research ideas, share hypotheses, and get to know the varied areas of research ongoing in the lab!

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