Thursday, June 9, 2016

Featured Scientist: Catalina "Cati" Mena Oliver

Although we are starting to sample in the eastern Caribbean, today's blog features a 'leg 2' participant: Cati! 
Picoplankton and the microbial food web (from Johnson and Lin, 2009)
Processing plankton samples
Catalina Mena Oliver (Cati) joined us in Cozumel back in May to specifically sample picoplankton during Leg 2. Catalina is a PhD student from the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (Oceanographic Centre of  Baleares - Larval Ecology Group), and she is developing her Doctoral Thesis studying the base of the planktonic food web with special interest in the bacterioplankton communities (picoplankton). 
Dynamic oceanographic currents of the western MED
(Balbin et al 2014)
Picophytoplankton (~0.2 to 2 µm) are the smallest autotrophic organisms on Earth and in stratified oligotrophic regions (like the Mediterranean and the Caribbean) can be a key component as biomass source. During our survey we aim to link the community of primary producers to eddy structures, since these communities can be highly influenced by mesoscale dynamics and by changes in resource supply. The phytoplankton size structure and the relative contribution of the different phytoplankton size fractions in terms of carbon biomass strongly affect the carbon transfer and the ecosystem functioning.
Cati shares her research with the science team
Cati shared with our blog: “I am very grateful to FORCES Lab from SEFSC-NOAA to give me the opportunity to participate in the Nancy Foster survey and I hope we could continue this collaboration in the future. The results obtained will help us to assess if the ecosystem is supported by a microbial food web, dominated by the picophytoplankton fraction, which might be crucial as food source not only for bluefin tuna larval ecology but also for other many species”.
We enjoyed to have Cati aboard and hope that she will sail again with us! We look forward to sharing her results in the future with you our loyal reader! 

Trying on the safety suit! (Cati is a LOBSTER)

No comments:

Post a Comment