Short Name:
NSF-ANT06-32278

IPY: Bacterioplankton Genomic Adaptations to Antarctic Winter

The Western Antarctic Peninsula is experiencing one of the most rapid rates of climate warming on Earth, with an increase of 5degrees C in the mean winter temperature in 50 years. Impacts on upper trophic levels are evident, though there have been few, if any studies that have considered the impacts on bacterioplankton in the Southern Ocean. This proposal will characterize the winter bacterioplankton genome, transcriptome, and proteome and discover those features (community composition, genes up-regulated, and proteins expressed) that are essential to winter bacterioplankton survival and livelihood. We have assembled a polar ocean ecology and genomics network including strategic partnerships with Palmer LTER, the British Antarctic Survey's ocean metagenome program, US and Canadian scientists studying the Arctic Ocean genome, an Australian colleague who specialized in archaeal proteomics, and French colleagues studying Sub-Antarctic and Coastal Adelie Land marine bacterioplankton. The primary objectives of this program are: 1. Describe the differences in diversity and genomic content between austral winter and summer bacterioplankton communities. 2. Investigate the winter-time bacterioplankton growth and cellular signals (mRNA and proteins expressed) in order to understand the specific adaptations key to survival. Our results will extend from the Antarctic to the Arctic - as the cold, dark, carbon-limited deep seas linking these two systems have many common features. Education and outreach activities target (i) undergraduate and graduate students, hopefully including minority students recruited through the Diversity in Research in Environmental and Marine Sciences (DREAMS) Program at VIMS; (ii) a broad audience with our education and outreach partnerships with The Cousteau Society and with the Census for Antarctic Marine Life program. Data and links to external databases will be listed on the http://genex2.dri.edu website. Sequence data will be publicly accessible in GenBank and IMG-M databases.

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