PLANKTON SPECIATION AND ADAPTATION IN THE OPEN OCEAN
This project will focus on the question of fundamental importance for our understanding of evolution and biodiversity: how do new species originate and evolve. In particular, this project will help to unveil poorly understood evolutionary processes driving the formation of an unexpectedly high diversity of plankton species in an apparently homogenous environment of the open ocean, the so called “paradox of the plankton”. This question will be addressed by studying ecologically important marine phytoplankton species (coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi and related species) that is highly abundant in world oceans and significantly contributes to global carbon cycle. The project benefits from complementary expertise of Prof. Filatov (Plant Sciences, Oxford), who is an expert in evolutionary genetics and genomics, and Prof. Rickaby (Earth Sciences, Oxford), who is an expert in global biogeochemical implications of marine phytoplankton.