What a great opportunity!

Note that this is only a top up scholarship and you need to have a PhD scholarship (APA or other) – but such a fantastic project and group of supervisors….
PhD in the microbial oceanography of the different water masses of the Southern Ocean
A PhD top-up scholarship is offered at CSIRO with co-supervision from the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies of UTAS.
The Southern Ocean is essential to the control of atmospheric CO2 levels. It is the largest region of the global ocean with excess nutrients available to enable CO2 transfer to the ocean interior via the biological pump, and is responsible for for 40% of the annual global oceanic uptake of anthropogenic CO2 owing to rapid physical transfer processes. There are currently critical gaps of knowledge on how changes in Southern Ocean physical oceanography under forecasted global change scenarios might change the CO2 uptake and the biological pump in the Southern Ocean.
Importantly, different water masses of the Southern Ocean harbour different microbial communities, and thus responses are likely to vary regionally. It is not understood which key environmental parameters control these variations in the microbial communities.  There is also little understanding on how the environmental services of the different microbial communities differ.
The project will A) investigate the microbial community composition of the different water masses of the Southern Ocean, B) align them with physicochemical and satellite observations and C) look for potential triggers for shifts in the microbial community. These potential triggers will then be followed up and tested by in situ manipulations. The project will also investigate the functional potential of Southern Ocean microbial communities across different water masses. The successful candidate will learn and work with cutting edge molecular methods for environmental microbiology (16S tag sequencing, functional gene microarrays, qPCR and related informatics tools); carry out microcosm manipulations; and participate on Southern Ocean cruise(s).
Dr. Levente Bodrossy, Environmental Genomics Team, CSIRO Oceans and Atmospheric Research
Prof. Philip Boyd, Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania
Prof. Thomas Trull, Southern Ocean Team, CSIRO Oceans and Atmospheric Research

Spencer gulf – a UCYN-A hotpspot?

Lauren Messer has a new paper on the way out describing the microbial goings on in the Spencer Gulf. As part of the Australia’s Microbiome Project with the Seymour Lab at UTS, we sampled from the Spencer Gulf region in South Australia. This place has very interesting geophyscial properties. Its described as an “inverse estuary” where salinity is lower at the mouth than the origin, and the temperate waters can oligotrophic. Somewhat unusually for this latitude, nitrogen fixation is believed to play an important role in the productivity of this system, possibly based upon the unusually high abundance of UCYN-A Candidatus Atelocyanobacterium thalassa we observed here.

Participation in the first research cruise on the RV Investigator

Greatly looking forward to getting on the brand new RV Investigator for its maiden science voyage in early November. Unfortunately we have had 2 cruises cancelled over the last year due to the lateness of delivery, but now get our opportunity. We will sample the tail of the East Australia Current at its current most southerly extent off the continental shelf of Tasmania, starting at the Maria Island National Reference Station. Ill be leading the microbial ecology part of the voyage along with Martin Ostrowski from Macquarie University. The new ship allows for much greater interdisciplinary activity in marine science. Our voyage leader is Prof Iain Suthers from here at UNSW, and we have chemists and physicists and climatoligists aboard. The voyage is titled :

Physical and biological oceanography of the shelf break off Maria Island; An exploration for frontal eddies

Rv Investigator, picture from CSIRO

A new paper from Tiffanie Nelson!

Glad to report another paper coming out by Tiffanie Nelson in PLoS ONE. It describes a large scale comparison of gut microbes from mammals living in terrestrial and marine systems and is aptly titled

The gut bacterial community of mammals from marine and terrestrial habitats

Tiffanie M Nelson, Tracey L Rogers, Mark V Brown

There are some intersting differences betweens mammals inhabiting the different biomes and Tiff speculates as the the causes. Link when it becomes available


New Manuscripts Accepted

We are pleased to announce some new manuscripts have been accepted over the last few weeks and I think its nice that they cover a wide variety of themes that we work on

Kohli GS (Gurjeets work from his PhD), Neilan BA, Brown MV, Hoppenrath M, Murray SA

Cob gene pyrosequencing enables characterisation of benthic dinoflagellate diversity and biogeography. Environmental Microbiology (In press)

DeMaere MZ, Williams TJ, Allen MA, Brown MV, Gibson JE, Rich J, Lauro F, Dyall-Smith M, Davenport KW, Woyke T, Kyrpides NC, Tringe SG, Cavicchioli R

High level of intergenera gene exchange shapes the evoution of haloarchaea in an isolated Antarctic lake. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA (In press)

Jimmy H.W. Saw, Michael Schatz, Mark V. Brown, Dennis D. Kunkel, Jamie S. Foster, Harry Shick, Stephanie Christensen, Shaobin Hou, Xuehua Wan, Stuart P. Donachie

Cultivation and complete genome sequencing of Gloeobacter kilaueensis sp. nov., from a lava cave in Kīlauea Caldera, Hawaiʻi. PLOS One

Trialling the SaFa

We are currently in Cee, a small town on the Costa da Morte in the SW of Spain with Matt Smith from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee trialling the SaFa (in situ Sample Archiving Instrument)

The Safa is small boat deployable autonomous in situ sample and archiving instrument designed my Dr Matt Smith at the University of Milwaukee

The Safa is small boat deployable autonomous in situ sample and archiving instrument designed my Dr Matt Smith at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Whilst currently essential, ship-based sampling methods are both expensive and logistically challenging, particularly when observations are to be performed during dangerous or inconvenient conditions. Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) and in situ sensor instrumentation represent the future of aquatic sciences as they offer enhanced broad-scale observations while reducing personnel and transportation costs. The Sample Filtration and Archival (SaFA) instrument, developed in Dr Smith’s lab, is an open-source, programmable instrument that collects and filters 24 water samples and preserves them for subsequent molecular biological analysis in the laboratory.