Molecular mechanisms by which marine phytoplankton respond to their dynamic chemical environment

Palenik, B.  2015.  Molecular mechanisms by which marine phytoplankton respond to their dynamic chemical environment. Annual Review of Marine Science, Vol 7. 7:325-340.

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acclimation, adaptation, assimilation, biomarkers, cylindrotheca-fusiformis, diatom thalassiosira-pseudonana, horizontal gene transfer, iron availability, metal limitation, nitrogen, nutrient limitation, oceanic diatom, phaeodactylum-tricornutum, phosphate acquisition genes, prochlorococcus ecotypes, silicon response, transcriptional response


Marine scientists have long been interested in the interactions of marine phytoplankton with their chemical environments. Nutrient availability clearly controls carbon fixation on a global scale, but the interactions between phytoplankton and nutrients are complex and include both short-term responses (seconds to minutes) and longer-term evolutionary adaptations. This review outlines how genomics and functional genomics approaches are providing a better understanding of these complex interactions, especially for cyanobacteria and diatoms, for which the genome sequences of multiple model organisms are available. Transporters and related genes are emerging as the most likely candidates for biomarkers in stress-specific studies, but other genes are also possible candidates. One surprise has been the important role of horizontal gene transfer in mediating chemical-biological interactions.