How photoheterotrophic bacteria can challenge our understanding of carbon cycle
Speaker: dr Katarzyna Piwosz (Centre Algatech, Institute of Microbiology, The Czech Academy of Sciences, Trebon)
Talk: How photoheterotrophic bacteria can challenge our understanding of carbon cycle
Time: 28 February 2020, 9:00 am
Venue: Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology, Abrahama 58, hall 042
My main scientific interest is on ecology of aquatic microorganisms. Aquatic microorganisms: bacteria, algae and heterotrophic protists, are the key players in energy transfer and element cycling in freshwater and marine habitats. These processes are vital for sustaining aquatic ecosystem and the entire biosphere. My research includes investigation of diversity, distribution, dynamics and activity of bacteria, algae and heterotrophic protists in their natural environments. I graduated from the University of Gdansk in Poland. I did my first scientific project for my master thesis at the Institute of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. I studied diversity and distribution of algae dwelling in the Arctic Ocean. During hours spent counting different algal species under a microscope, I noticed a plethora of tiny, tiny cells that neither my supervisor, nor any other ecologists could name. This is how I became fascinated with the smallest of microorganisms, for which high quality light microscopy was not enough. Looking for the possibility to identify those cells, I read about use of molecular methods to study microbial diversity. However, to learn these techniques, I had to move to Germany, where I joined Max Planck Research School at Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen (Marmic). Studying at Marmic and working on my second master thesis at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, I learned all the theory and practice I needed to pursue my doctoral study. I returned to the Institute of Oceanology PAS, and, in cooperation with the University of Zurich, I studied small algae and protists in the Baltic Sea. The phylogenetic diversity of algae and protists in the Baltic Sea turned out to be incredible, with thousands of species present in the Gulf of Gdańsk over a year. I discovered groups of protists that no one expected to be present in the Baltic. After I accomplished my PhD, I returned to Polar Regions to answer the question from my first master project: who were the tiny tiny cells in my samples :)
During my work, I participated in scientific cruises to the Baltic Sea, Arctic Ocean and Adriatic Sea. I successfully managed five international scientific projects. I was awarded fellowships and stipends from the EMBL, FEMS, the Director of the Institute of Baltic Sea Research, Warnemünde, Swiss Foundation for Hydrobiology & Limnology, and the University of Zurich, and received four awards from the Director of National Marine Fisheries Research Institute for the publications record. I have been appointed the Ambassador for Poland by the International Society for Microbial Ecology (https://www.isme-microbes.org/). Presently I am a researcher in Institute of Microbiology of Czech Academy of Sciences. My work concentrates on role of photoheterotrophic bacteria in freshwater carbon cycle. There are two known types of photoheterotrophic bacteria: rhodopsin containing and bacteriochlorophylls containing. The former seems to be abundant but slow growing, while the letter are more rare (but still they can make up to 40% of all bacterial abundance) but fast growing, and my current focus lies on them. In my talk, I will present my research on ecology of the bacteriochlorophylls containing photoheterotrophic bacteria in freshwaters: their diversity, seasonal dynamics, activity and interaction with other microbes.