PH.D. Students on Board an Icelandic Research Vessel

Mia Cerfonteyn and Clara Jégousse are currently on board the Icelandic research vessel, Bjarni Sæmundsson to analyse microbial diversity, abundance and distribution in Icelandic waters. The research trip is part of the MIME project (Microbes in the Icelandic Marine Environment), in cooperation with the Marine Research Institute, University of Iceland and others and receives support from the Icelandic Research Fund (Rannís).

The students are collecting seawater samples at the set stations of Icelandic Marine Research Institute (Icelandic; Hafrannsóknastofnun, rannsókna- og ráðgjafastofnun hafs og vatna) to analyse microbial diversity, abundance and distribution, as there is a lot of oceanographic data at these locations.

Let’s hear from Mia and Clara how their work is going:

The rosette sampler, that is used, contains 12 bottles – this is lowered into the water and then the bottles are remotely closed at specified depths. We then collect the water and either fix it with gluteraldehyde for counting and identification with Flow Cytometry back at the lab, or filter a litre of seawater through Sterivex filters using the setup in the one photo I sent you. These filters will be used for DNA extraction and Next Generation Sequencing. Everything is stored in liquid nitrogen tanks on the deck. These samples have been collected annually since 2010, so we will be able to look at the changes in microbial diversity on a spatial and temporal scale which we hope to link with environmental changes. In addition, I will attempt to culture some phytoplankton so that we have live specimens back at the lab and Clara is doing a Stable Isotope Probing experiment to study the metabolic activities in these microbial communities. The sampling happens 24/7 so we are working 12 hour shifts each.

The good food, friendly company and great views makes it all worth it – it‘s good to get out of the lab once in a while.”

For more information, please contact Mia Cerfonteyn at Matís.