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Department of Estuarine and Ocean Sciences Seminar Announcement-Dr. Linda Amaral-Zettler

When: Wednesday, September 8, 2021
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
Where: > See description for location
Description: The School for Marine Science and Technology
Department of Estuarine and Ocean Sciences
Seminar Announcement

A Hitchhiker's Guide to the "Plastisphere"

Dr. Linda Amaral-Zettler
Marine Microbiology and Biogeochemistry Dept.,
NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics,
University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Josephine Bay Paul Center, Marine Biological Laboratory,
Woods Hole, MA

Wednesday, September 8, 2021
12:30 pm to 1:30 pm
SMAST East Rooms 101/102
And Via Zoom

Plastic Marine Debris (PMD) is a major source of marine pollution and potential source of invasive alien species including harmful algal blooming species, two important ocean health index criteria. While macroplastic is the most conspicuous and iconic debris in the environment, micro (< 5 mm) and nano-sized (<50 µm) plastic particles are now recognized as a growing concern. Broadening interest in the topic has extended to plastic debris in rivers and other freshwater environments. Plastics are almost instantaneously colonized upon contact with water of any kind by a thin film of microorganisms, what we refer to as the "Plastisphere", particularly plastics in the smaller size ranges. My research team has been studying microbial interactions with PMD using a multiphasic approach including high-throughput amplicon and metagenomics sequencing, culturing, Scanning Electron Microscopy, and most recently Combinatorial Labelling and Spectral Imaging – Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (CLASI-FISH). These techniques all lend themselves to time-series sampling of developing biofilms on "virgin" substrates that can be sampled at desired time-points thereafter. Our early investigations revealed that Plastisphere communities are quite
distinct from the surrounding environment, but time series investigations provide a time-stamp on the succession and community assembly in Plastisphere communities that is difficult if not impossible to achieve in naturally collected samples. My talk will review what is known about diversity in the "Plastisphere" to date and discuss the advantages
and disadvantages different technologies present in addressing some of the most urgent questions regarding this newest of marine habitats.
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Meeting ID: 974 4006 9270
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For additional information, please contact Sue Silva at
Contact: > See Description for contact information
Topical Areas: School for Marine Sciences and Technology, SMAST Seminar Series