Simons Foundation Lectures are free public colloquia related to basic science and mathematics. These high-level talks are intended for professors, students, postdocs and business professionals, but interested people from the metropolitan area are welcome as well.
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.