Dynamics of Prokaryotic Communities in a Southeastern U.S. Salt Marsh

Location: Sapelo Island, Georgia

Created by George Rice, Montana State University

Map showing location of MO site, and picture of Matt Kane (Program Officer), and Mary Ann Moran (P.I.).


The Sapelo Island Microbial Observatory (http://www.simco.uga.edu/ 'SIMO') is investigating the diversity of prokaryotes, their physiological and genetic characteristics, and their biogeochemical activities in a salt marsh/estuarine ecosystem in the southeastern U.S. This project was funded in October, 2000 by the National Science Foundation.

Like other coastal environments, the Sapelo Island salt marshes play essential roles in processing materials from both the land and sea. In the coming decade, knowledge of prokaryotic communities and their metabolic capabilities will be critical for establishing linkages between species composition and biogeochemical function in coastal ecosystems.

The diversity of natural microbial communities is enormous. For instance, in marsh sediments thousands of different kinds of prokaryotes are present at any one time. Likewise, in estuarine seawater, hundreds of prokaryotic groups can be found in a single sample. In both the sediments and seawater, the groups found depend upon the season. The mystery this research group would like to solve is what determines the composition of microbial communities in space and time and how the composition of the community determines its function.

Photo of Mary Ann Moran
Dr. Mary Ann Moran
Professor, (P.I.)
Department of Marine Sciences
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602-3636
Phone: (706) 542-6481
Fax: (706) 542-5888

Picture of Dr. William B. Whitman.
Dr. William B. Whitman
Professor, (Co-P.I.)
Department of Microbiology
University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia 30602-2605
Phone: (706) 542-4219
Fax: (706) 542-2674 (fax)

Picture of Dr. Robert E. Hodson.
Dr. Robert E. Hodson. 
Professor, (Co-P.I.)
Department of Marine Sciences
University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia 30602-3636
Phone: (706) 542-5868
Fax: (706) 583-0376 (fax)

Copyright on all images and material by Mary Ann Moran, 2006.

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