Simons Foundation Presidential Lectures are free public colloquia centered on four main themes: Biology, Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Neuroscience and Autism Science. These curated, high-level scientific talks feature leading scientists and mathematicians and are intended to foster discourse and drive discovery among the broader NYC-area research community. We invite anyone interested in the topic to join us for this weekly lecture series.
There is a vast sea of microbes — invisible to all but the most powerful microscopes — that drives ocean chemistry, affects climate and even produces the fish we eat and the air we breathe. Ocean microbes make the planet habitable, but major uncertainties still exist about the distribution and activity of key groups of microbes.
In this lecture, Sonya Dyhrman will focus on photosynthetic microbes called phytoplankton, highlighting the critical and beneficial roles that phytoplankton play in marine systems. These phytoplankton form the base of the marine food web and drive carbon and nitrogen cycling, yet major uncertainties exist regarding how key groups are distributed and what controls their activities in different systems. Leveraging new species-specific molecular approaches, Dyhrman will highlight examples of how this unseen microbial world both shapes and is shaped by our changing planet.