Tiny Cell, Global Impact: What Prochlorococcus can teach us about Life
Thursday, June 16, 2011 Redfield Auditorium - 12:00 Noon Dr. Penny Chisholm Professor Dept. of Civil and Env. Engineering, Dept. of Biology, MIT
Discovered only 25 years ago, Prochlorococcus is the smallest and most abundant oxygenic phototroph on Earth. It sometimes accounts for as much as 50% of the chlorophyll in the oligotrophic oceans, and is often the dominant photosynthesizer at the base of the euphotic zone. This group of minimal phototrophs is comprised of closely related but genetically and physiologically distinct ‘ecotypes’ that display different relative abundances along ocean gradients. Genome sequences from cultured strains, phages that infect them, and genomes from wild cells are providing new insights into the origins and dynamics of micro-diversity within the global population of Prochlorococcus. As such, this ‘federation’ of microbes serves as a useful model to begin to understand life processes at all scales of organization, from the cell to the biosphere.
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is dedicated to research and education to advance understanding of the ocean and its interaction with the Earth system, and to communicating this understanding for the benefit of society. Learn more »