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Biotechnical Approach to Tracing the Development of Open Ocean Diatom Blooms

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LONG TERM GOALS. This work seeks to develop methods that can identify the genetic affinities among bloom forming diatoms in the ocean. The development of diatom blooms significantly modifies the optical properties of the surface waters yet their occurrence in the open ocean is difficult to predict. Frequently in high latitude oceans, blooms are absent from regions that have abundant nutrients and light. This work focuses on the biological basis for the occurrence of blooms so that the dynamics responsible for their sudden appearance in oceanic regions can be understood and more accurately predicted. An important aspect of this goal is the ability to trace the genetic affinities between coastal and offshore populations to determine the source for the offshore blooms. Such a link would provide the basis for establishing a circulation dependence of diatom blooms in which the biological nature of the upstream regions would exert a strong influence on the bloom forming capabilities of downstream regions. OBJECTIVES. The primary near-term objective is to implement several basic techniques in DNA analysis that provide some measure of the genetic affinities among diatom subpopulations to determine if these techniques provide sufficient resolution for the spatial analysis. The overall objective actually involved several subcomponents the collection of a sufficient number of spatially distinct cell lines the application of appropriate DNA methodologies and the analysis of the resulting information on genetic affinities. The objectives therefore, required the proper expertise in biological oceanography, taxonomy and molecular biology that are relevant to the long-term goals of the project.

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  • Physical and Dynamic Oceanography

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