Bacterial utilization of marine particles

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The biological pump is the process by which carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is converted into biomass by photosynthesis, undergoes aggregation and sinks to the deep ocean. As they sink, aggregates are degraded by bacteria, which convert the particulate organic carbon (POC) into bacterial biomass or recycle the POC back into the dissolved phase. This degradation process controls the amount of carbon stored in the ocean, with major consequences for the global carbon cycle. We are exploring these microscale processes by focusing on the microbial dynamics around particles, using a vertical millifluidic system as well as microfluidic systems to visualize the degradation of single aggregates under flow. We aim to open a window into the unseen world of the microbial populations that inhabit marine particles, and in doing so, provide a better understanding of the cycling of carbon in the ocean. For more information, please contact Uria Alcolombri (, Lars Behrendt ( or Anupam Sengupta (