Addressing Uncertainties in Ancient Temperature Reconstructions: Cultivation and Analysis of Marine Crenarchaota

Timespan: 
2011-2013

This project addresses questions related to the ecology and diversity of modern marine archaea, and in turn seeks to evaluate the reliability of archaeal membrane lipid-based paleoclimate proxies. We employ samples collected from cultures, commercial and research aquariums, and select open ocean environments, in addition to satellite remote sensing data and measured water quality conditions, in order to: 1) determine the phylogenetic diversity of marine archaea present in these environments, 2) establish where in the water column and under what conditions marine archaea are growing and 3) evaluate the relationships between measured phylogenetic diversity, in situ environmental variables and lipid distributions, which inform our understanding of archaeal climate proxies.