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Marine Environmental Genomics: New Secrets from a Mysterious Ocean

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Abstract:

Ocean microbes play critical roles in ecosystem dynamics and biogeochemical cycles. For a number of reasons, these organisms have been hard to study; among other characteristics, they are difficult or maybe impossible to culture. The recent application of cultivation-independent genomic techniques to study bacterial communities has begun to fundamentally change our views of microbial ecology and function. These approaches are providing more comprehensive insights into the structure and function of natural assemblages of microbial populations. Genomics-based technologies are revealing previously unknown groups of microorganisms and novel metabolic pathways, leading to a deeper appreciation of the fundamental genetic and potential functional diversity of ocean microbes. When evaluated in the context of observed ecosystem functions, we can begin to understand the complex interactions of individuals and populations with their physical and chemical environment. The continuing study and interpretation of the community genomic data will require a close synergy among interdisciplinary researchers working throughout the world's ocean basins. Community genomic approaches have and will become a powerful tool for understanding marine microbial ecology in the future.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4031/002533205787442549

Publication date: September 1, 2005

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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