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2015 News in Brief



Oceanographer Mick Follows on how ocean physics and chemistry affect microbial diversity

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PHOTO: This mixture of multicellular organisms, small zooplanktonic animals, larvae, and single cell protists was collected from the Pacific Ocean.Plankton, one of the ocean’s smallest inhabitants and a creature vital to life on Earth, are routinely swept away by ocean currents in the form of large swirls (or rings) – as revealed in studies by international consortium of researchers Tara Oceans. With only a fraction of the plankton surviving the trip, recent work from CEE Associate Professor and MIT Oceanographer Mick Follows characterizes the complex nitrogen cycle within the ring to provide a new understanding of how ocean physics and chemistry affect microbial diversity. “Oceanography is controlling the communication of these different organisms through the channel,” Follows said. “Our contribution has been to help untangle the complex nitrogen cycle inside the rings.” For the article, please see here.