Murat Eren (Meren) of the University of Chicago and the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), Woods Hole, and Tom O. Nitrogen fixation is a critical ecological process in which atmospheric nitrogen is converted to ammonia, making nitrogen “bioavailable” to living organisms to use as a fundamental building block of DNA, RNA and proteins.“Microbes that can fix nitrogen or carbon are at the center of the ecology of microbial communities in many environments, including the surface ocean,” Delmont says.
“Prior to our study, it was thought that the marine microbes responsible for carbon fixation were also largely responsible for fixing nitrogen.
Understanding the mechanisms that sustain ocean health is an enormous challenge that MBL scientists are well positioned to address by investigating marine organisms and their associated microbiomes, especially changes that signal environmental stress.”Prince Albert II attended a panel discussion, “Adapting to a Climate-Changed World,” led by Shubin and senior scientists from the MBL Ecosystems Center.
The center is known for its long-term studies of ecological change, particularly in Arctic ecosystems and in coastal zones, and for its leadership in advising international policymakers on climate change.
The foundation sponsors research, technological innovation, and initiatives for social awareness to limit the impacts of climate change, protect biodiversity, and manage water resources.“Our oceans are greatly under threat, despite their size and their vital contributions to humanity,” Prince Albert II said during his visit to the MBL.
“Marine ecosystems face increasing threats from habitat loss, pollution, and climate change.Nexus between phylogeny and function of the newly discovered nitrogen fixers in surface ocean metagenomes.(a) Phylogenomic analysis of 432 Proteobacteria genomes and 43 Planctomycetes genomes that Delmont and colleagues characterized (including the nine non-photosynthetic N fixers) using a collection of 37 phylogenetic marker gene families.Size and color of genomic nodes represent the number of detected functions and genomic taxonomy, respectively.The color of functional nodes indicates their occurrence in the different genomes.