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Masters Thesis Defense: Johnson Lin
November 17, 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
The UNC at Chapel Hill’s Earth, Marine, and Environmental Sciences Department presents the Master’s Thesis Defense of graduate student Yuanyu “Johnson” Lin. This event will be held on Wednesday, November 17th, at 2:00 pm. This seminar will be held both in person and streamed live online. The physical location will be Conference Room 3204 on the 3rd floor of Murray Hall on UNC at Chapel Hill campus. To view the event online join via Zoom Meeting ID 947 9428 1205.
Title: Variability in the phytoplankton response to upwelling across the iron limitation mosaic within the California Current System
Abstract: Coastal upwelling currents such as the California Current System (CCS) provide for some of the most productive biological systems in the world. The seasonality and topography of these regions dictate the intensity of upwelling and entrainment of nutrients, providing for photosynthetic growth by autotrophic plankton that not only cascades up the marine food chain, but also initiates carbon export and sequestration. Despite the abundance of macronutrients found within the CCS, phytoplankton are often limited by the micronutrient iron, an important trace element involved in photosynthesis and nitrogen assimilation. The mechanisms behind how these phytoplankton – the basis of the marine food web – acclimate to the different stages of the upwelling conveyor belt cycle (UCBC) with respect to iron limitation remains largely uncharacterized. Adding to this complexity is the knowledge that iron bioavailability heavily influences phytoplankton growth dynamics and elemental stoichiometry in this region, and climate change is projected to alter the availability of iron in many parts of the CCS. My research aims to use an integrated physiological and meta-transcriptomic approach to examine the phytoplankton response to the iron limitation mosaic within the CCS with respect to the UCBC. I hope to understand how dominant phytoplankton within this region acclimate and react to upwelling dynamics in both current and future ocean scenarios. Given the extent to which these organisms contribute to carbon sequestration and fisheries, understanding the biological processes behind how they function under climate change will help us better predict their influence on our planet’s biogeochemical cycles.