Project: Predicting ecological niches of diverse nitrogen fixers in the global ocean
Nitrogen fixers alter marine biogeochemistry and ecosystems by adding bioavailable nitrogen. The ocean hosts diverse physiological types of nitrogen fixers; multicellular bundle, unicellular and symbionts. How the physiological traits of each nitrogen fixer shape its ecological niche and geographic distribution is not clear. Here I propose to extend a cellular resource allocation model to include four different nitrogen fixers and then incorporate them into a three-dimensional ocean ecosystem model. I will analyze how physiological traits control the niche of each functional type. I will predict the abundance and distribution of each functional type and rate of nitrogen fixation, and compare to the available observations. This study would improve our quantitative understanding of nitrogen fixers and the rates of nitrogen fixation, contributing to our understanding of ecosystems and biogeochemistry.