Long-standing questions regarding the fate of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in coastal oceans require a better understanding of the network that links bacterioplankton metabolism with carbon transformation.

In this project, we are integrating high-resolution chemical analysis with bacterial gene expression measures, extending DOC process studies down to the single-compound level and bacterial activity studies to the single-gene level.

The specific goals of this project are:

UGA Marine Institute
Sapelo Island, GA

1... To reconstruct major components of the network linking DOC composition, DOC turnover, and bacterial heterotrophy in the coastal ocean (the composition of the DOC pool, the major bioreactive components, the bacterioplankton taxa mediating transformations, and the bacterial genes and pathways responsible).

2... To test hypothesized network linkages for selected DOC compounds using a simplified system that queries individual DOC compounds against a complex natural microbial community.

3... To test hypothesized network linkages for marine bacteria using a simplified system that queries a single generalist heterotroph against a complex natural DOC pool.

4... To verify predicted DOC-gene linkages that are most informative about heterotrophic activities of bacterioplankton.

Principal Investigators


The SIMCO project is also working to enhance understanding of the ecological roles of marine microorganisms by high school students. PIs are collaborating with Advanced Placement Biology students at Cedar Shoals High School, in Athens, GA to develop laboratory exercises that accomplish experiential learning goals of the AP Biology curriculum.