Distinguishing denitrifying organisms across gradients

March 22, 2017 in Climate change/Sea level rise, Current Research Projects, Microbes, Nitrogen, Sediments


Robinson W. Fulweiler(Boston University); Teri O’Meara (University of Auckland)

Funding Source(s):     Boston University, University of Auckland

Tea bag decomposition experiment

March 22, 2017 in Current Research Projects, Featured Projects, Microbes, Salt marsh

PIs: Dr. Faming Wang, Dr. Jianwu (Jim) Tang, Marine Biological Laboratory

teabagWe use commercially available tea bags as standardised test kits to gather data on salt marsh decomposition rates. This is a cost-effective, well-standardised method. By using two tea types with contrasting decomposability, we can construct a decomposition curve using a single measurement in time. We will compare the decomposition rate within the high marsh and low marsh, and also in the warmed chamber versus ambient reference. Our data was also included in a worldwide cooperation network to investigate the decomposition rate in different ecosystems using the tea bag method.

To read more about the tea bag experiment and its relationship to blue carbon research, please visit:

http://bluecarbonlab.org/ and also http://www.teatime4science.org/about/the-project/

Microbial Community Composition of Permeable Reactive Barriers – Who Is Really Doing the Work?

June 27, 2013 in Current Research Projects, Microbes, Nitrogen

Jen BowenPIs:  Jennifer Bowen, UMASS-Boston

Ken Foreman, MBL Ecosystems Center

Funding: MIT Seagrant

Description: Permeable Reactive Barriers (PRBs) are currently being tested at the Waquoit Bay Reserve as a potential partial mitigation strategy for nutrient pollution. The barriers are designed to remove nitrogen by promoting microbially-mediated denitrification but there has been no examination of the microbial community that is responsible for the removal of the nitrogen and no attempt to understand how those microbial communities might respond to future environmental change.  This project will use molecular biology to examine how the barriers, and the periodic inundation of seawater, alter the structure and function of the microbial community. This information will help determine the best placement of the barriers to maximize their effectiveness.  Understanding how the microbial communities in the two barriers differ and under what environmental conditions the denitrifying bacteria thrive will help to guide future barrier construction, particular in the context of rising sea levels.