SANAP Projects.

Disentangling the role of chemolithoautotrophs in the sequestration of atmospheric CO2

Principal Investigator: Dr Thulani Makhalanyane

Discipline: Microbial ecology

Short description of the project:

The Southern Ocean (SO) is a crucial marine ecosystem globally and is responsible for the uptake of substantial amounts of anthropogenic carbon. There is now, thanks in part to various SANAP funded programs, some understanding of phytoplankton biology and the influence of oceanographic variables which is leading to improved models incorporating the biological carbon pump. The degree of uncertainty in these models remains high and there is increasing recognition that other biological components (e.g. chemoautotrophic microorganisms) may be the source of these discrepancies. However, very little is known regarding the functional status of microbial guilds, which may be crucial in consolidating the carbon deficit. Here, we propose a series of subprojects, using state-of-the-art technologies, aimed at elucidating the role of chemoautotrophic in the SO.

We have assembled a multidisciplinary team with expertise fields such as marine microbial ecology, virology, and biogeochemistry to ensure that the ambitious aims of this project can be achieved.

Current members of the team are:  Mr. Matthew Clayton,  Dr. Jarishma Gokul, Dr. Jessica Koopman, Ms. Mancha Mabaso, Mr. Percy Mutseka, Ms. Sandra Phoma

Contact Details



Address:     Centre for Microbial Ecology and Genomics, Natural Sciences Building II, Level 3, University of Pretoria, Hatfield 0028, Pretoria, South Africa

Tel:             +27 (0)12 420 6976

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