Visualizing Our Microbial Ocean

  • Speaker
  • Heidi M. Sosik, Ph.D.Senior Scientist, Biology Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Date & Time

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Diverse microscopic organisms dominate life in the ocean. Marine microbiomes are complex and highly dynamic, responding rapidly to their ever-changing fluid environment. They fuel marine food webs and contribute substantially to global scale productivity, nutrient cycling and climate regulation. Yet, many aspects of how the ocean’s microbial communities are structured and respond to change remain poorly understood, mainly because they are so challenging to observe in nature at relevant space and time scales. High throughput robotic microscopy and cytometry are now filling this gap, providing the capability to measure multi-decade species-specific time series and quantify impacts of microbial interactions such as phagotrophy, parasitism and symbiosis in the ocean.

In this Presidential Lecture, Heidi Sosik will highlight discoveries emerging from the combination of machine learning and billions of images of microbial ocean life.

About the Speaker

Sosik is a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where she explores the roles of microscopic plankton in ocean ecosystems. She received S.B. and S.M. degrees from MIT and a Ph.D. from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego. Recognition of Sosik’s accomplishments includes a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, a fellowship of The Oceanography Society and a sustaining fellowship of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography. Sosik and co-workers have developed automated underwater cell analyzers that transform scientists’ and resource managers’ abilities to study microscopic organisms that fuel ocean food chains and sometimes produce harmful algal blooms.

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