Mo Title: North Inlet Microbial Observatory (NIMO)
Location: Saltmarsh Estuary, near Georgetown, SC
The diazotrophic (nitrogen fixing) Bacteria are extraordinarily diverse and apart from a few select groups are very poorly characterized. Diazotrophs associated with the roots of non-crop plant species are particularly understudied. The North Inlet Microbial Observatory (NIMO) focuses on diazotrophs in a salt marsh ecosystem. This system is characterized by strong zonation patterns of a very limited number of plant species growing along distinct environmental gradients. It also harbors a great diversity of plant root-associated diazotrophs, many of which appear to be novel taxa. The zonation patterns and biota of salt marshes provide a unique opportunity to explore the diversity and distribution patterns of this key bacterial group, and to evaluate the underlying environmental parameters that control diversity, and distributions of the active diazotrophs.
- Develop an extensive culture collection of salt marsh diazotrophs from the North Inlet study site.
- Determine relevant phylogenetic affiliations and characteristics of diazotrophs that will help lead to formal descriptions of new taxa.
- Ascertain which diazotrophs actively fix nitrogen in association with salt marsh plants.
- Determine numerical representations of diazotrophs that are active in the plant community.
- Examine micro-scale distributions of diazotrophs on and in the plant roots.
- Investigate macro-scale distributions of the diazotrophs across environmental gradients by relating their occurrence to host plant distributions in the marsh.
Charles R. Lovell, Professor of Biological Sciences, 803-777-7036, firstname.lastname@example.org Lovell's Research
Madilyn Fletcher, Director of the Baruch Institute, Professor of Marine and Biological Sciences, (803)777-5288, email@example.com, Fletcher's Research
Copyright on all images and material by Charles R. Lovell 2005.