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Lectures & Seminars

17.08.2017 14:00 - 15:00 o'clock

MPI-BGC Colloquium: Explaining a deep-sea paradox: Starving microbes in a sea of dissolved organic substrate

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Thorsten Dittmar, University of Oldenburg/ MPI for Marine Microbiology, Bremen

Abstract: Marine dissolved organic matter (DOM) is an enigmatic pool of carbon. It originates largely from marine biota, but it contains orders of magnitudes more carbon than all living organisms in the oceans combined. Accumulation occurs because a small fraction of fixed carbon resists microbial mineralization in the ocean for millennia. The reason behind the long-term stability of DOM remains unknown. Most likely an interplay of different mechanisms cause some organic molecules to persist in the ocean for several thousand years. Shortage of essential nutrients, food web mechanisms, and gradients in microbial community structure may cause an accumulation of DOM over months to decades. During this intermediate accumulation, DOM can be subject to secondary, stabilizing abiotic modifications. An alternative idea proposes extreme substrate dilution as a stabilization mechanism, suggesting DOM stability may be independent of molecular structure. Support for the dilution hypothesis was recently found by the application of ultrahigh-resolution mass spectrometry and mathematical modelling.

Date: Aug 17, 2017

Location: Lecture hall of the Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena

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