Margaret Mars Brisbin
Research: Interactions between marine microbes, microbial symbioses, phytoplankton
community dynamics in coastal and open ocean systems, harmful algal blooms, extreme
Specialties: Microbiology, Phytoplankton ecology, Meta 'omics, Bioinformatics
My research takes advantage of high-throughput RNA and DNA sequencing as well as high-throughput imaging and high-resolution microscopy to study how marine microbes interact with each other and respond to different environmental conditions. I am especially interested in how interactions between the smallest organisms in the ocean influence large-scale ecosystem processes like primary production, nutrient cycling, and carbon sequestration. Current work focuses on how specific relationships between bacterial communities and different phytoplankton species influence phytoplankton bloom dynamics. For example, how does terrestrial nutrient loading interact with nutrient production by phytoplankton microbiome communities to determine which phytoplankton species is able to bloom? Moreover, how will climate change and the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme events (e.g., hurricanes and heat waves) alter phytoplankton microbiomes and phytoplankton community dynamics? I aim to investigate these topics and questions in primarily coastal systems from pole to pole, including locally in Florida ecosystems. Other research interests include endosymbiosis, kleptoplasty, and plastid evolution.