"Microbial Oceanograohy: Genomes to Biomes"

Course Description

The 2006 course will be co-directed by Drs. Matthew Church, Edward DeLong, David M. Karl, and Michael Rappé. Participation is limited to 12 students. The course will be based at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, Hawaii. Students will have access to a wide suite of facilities and university infrastructure, including numerous laboratories in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology and the recently constructed (2002) AGOR-26, 186 foot UNOLS research vessel the R/V Kilo Manoa. A wide range of expertise in oceanography and microbial ecology will be available; the visiting and permanent faculty consist of world renowned scientists in the fields of marine microbiology, oceanography, and biogeochemistry will participate in teaching the course.

The course will explore the dynamic and fundamental role marine microbes play in shaping ocean ecology and biogeochemistry. In particular, students will gain exposure and hands on experience with cutting edge research tools and fundamental concepts in microbiology, biogeochemistry, oceanography, and microbial ecology. Students will work in research teams to address contemporary and important questions in the emerging field of microbial oceanography. Students will be challenged to think critically about some of the following questions: 1) What determines the net metabolism of the sea? 2) What processes control the availability and distributions of bioessential elements in the oceans? 3) How does microbial growth influence the pathways and rates of nutrient and energy flow in marine ecosystems? 5) How can we use marine genomics to understand microbially-mediated pathways in the oceans? 6) Do we have sufficient information to develop meaningful ecological and biogeochemical models to constrain ocean ecosystem processes? 7) What are the relationships between microbial diversity and ecological and biogeochemical processes occurring in marine environments?