Marine Rubiscos are the key fo understanding carbon fixation in the oceans

The process of taking air (CO2) and turning it into living matter (e.g. plants and algae) is the fundamental building block for life on Earth. This prcocess happens equally on land and in the ocean and is catalyzed by one enzyme, Rubisco. Rubisco is the most abundant protein on Earth and is used by all cyanobacteria, plants and algae, and is even found in some bacteria and archaea (e.g. in the deep ocean and hydrothermal vents).

This project aims to uncover the diversity of marine Rubiscos, and to use Rubisco as a tool to understand how marine CO2 fixation will respond to warming temperatures and rising CO2. The project is split into three components:

  • To expand our knowledge of the diversity of Rubisco kinetics in marine organisms.

  • To couple Rubisco kinetics with measurements of Carbon Concentrating Mechanisms in algae.

  • To probe genetic adaptation of Rubisco in marine phytoplankton, bacteria and archaea.

This project is funded by a Simons Foundation Early Career Investigator Award in Marine Microbial Ecology and Evolution.

Associated lab members:

Jodi Young

Susan Rundell