Saturday, December 17, 2016

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Ocean currents and temperature selection

I am pleased to announce our latest paper on agent-based modeling of ocean microbes. Microbe biogeography studies typically assume that the microbes are affected only by local conditions. However, in areas with substantial advection (e.g. ocean currents), upstream conditions may play a stronger role in shaping the local community. Here we explore this effect for temperature selection in surface ocean microbes. We develop a novel agent-based model and perform simulations to quantify the effect of advection at the global scale. Our results show that advection by currents can change the effective selection temperature of microbes by several degrees Celsius, and therefore should be considered in microbe biogeography studies. We then apply our results to three global datasets and for all we can better explain observations when currents are considered. We make our results accessible to the broader community by providing an atlas of temperature corrections.

I think this is an interesting study with some important conclusions. In terms of my research program, this model also represents a stepping stone for a more complex global microbe agent-based model. Specifically, we are now working on integrating a gene-level model of Synechococcus I developed previously (see link below) into this model. We will then make predictions of gene, transcript and protein levels at the global scale. Pretty exciting!