My research is sponsored by Simons Foundation International and is part of the BIOS-SCOPE initiative to understand carbon cycling in the Western Sargasso Sea near Bermuda. My work focuses on the oxidation of dissolved organic matter (DOM) by major groups of planktonic bacteria, including streamlined cells such as SAR11. I employ a combination of approaches, including genomics, experiments with cultured cells, chemical and biochemical measurements, and field studies to identify carbon oxidation pathways. One of the key problems I am trying to understand is the relationship between the reactivity of organic carbon compounds, which determines their half-life in the oceans, and specialized metabolic pathways that have evolved in bacteria for DOM oxidation. My research includes work with co-cultures of phytoplankton and bacteria to understand this early and fundamental step in the global ocean carbon cycle.
Ph.D., National Taiwan University, Institute of Oceanography