Phytoplankton and their Role in Southern Ocean Biogeochemistry

The Centre hosts the Southern Ocean and temperate phytoplankton culture collection (Evelyn Armstrong), one of only 3-4 lab culture facilities which maintain Southern Ocean phytoplankton under the very low trace metal concentrations they encounter in situ. This provides a valuable platform to launch a range of experiments – for example on how they fractionate stable isotopes of zinc –to help better understand the role of these biota in setting some of the puzzling but important chemical signatures in this region that has a disproportionate role in regional and global climate.

Other research areas include the nutrient and photo-physiology of subantarctic diatoms, a little studied group, and of coccolithophores which have formed large blooms in the ocean around New Zealand.