Extra Credit: Eric Collins

Eric Collins’ seminar primarily focused on the oceanography of the Arctic Ocean and the microbial diversity that is present in this marine environment. He discusses the variation present in microbial communities at various levels of seawater. For instance, the deep-water layer may exhibit different microbial diversity when compared to the Atlantic layer. His research is aimed at determining how those differences came about and how much of that variation is a due to the water that it came from.

Collins’ discusses potential factors that contribute to diversity of marine environments. For instance, he touches on the fact that ice formation and melting can influence microbial communities because they tend to change overtime due to changes in flow of water and melting of glaciers. He discusses how this has had a negative impact on the environment and organisms that are present in this environment due to the rapid melting of ice during the spring months.

Along with variation in water flow and ice formation, Collins’ also discusses how the nutrient and salt concentrations can have an impact on the microbes present. For instance, he mentions how the Atlantic water is much saltier when compared to the water of the pacific. Also, warm, traveling water is very low in nutrient concentrations when compared to deep, arctic water.

I really appreciated how Collin’s incorporated a little oceanography in his presentation to give his audience a more in depth background into the sites that his data was collected. It was rather interesting to further learn about all the potential causes of marine microbial diversity. One question that I considered during this presentation is  whether or not there is  anyway to determine the rate at which the ice is melting and if there is any current research being conducted that analyzes possible factors that could limit the rate at which the melting is occurring?