This Summer I was accepted to participate in an on-campus internship sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The internship was "eleven" weeks long starting early July and ending with a symposium in September. I started Spring Term and probably will not end until... I don't know.
The lab I work in is a Microbiology lab run by Dr. Stephen Giovannoni. The lab studies a marine bacteria named 'Candidatus Pelagibacter ubique' but called SAR11.
There are several "isolates" of SAR11. Different sub-species within a species. Think of it as different ethnicities. Humans have asians, europeans, islanders, etc. SAR11 has HTCC1062, 7211, 1002, 2155, 2181 etc. HTCC is a way to specify that a specific isolate is being referred to and specifies the way the culture is grown. I work with three of these isolates 1062, 7211, and 1002.
Due to its dominance it is important in the role of carbon cycling in the ocean. Carbon in the atmosphere is fixed by autotrophs in a process called photosynthesis. SAR11 then takes the byproducts (mainly sugars) and oxidizes the carbon releasing it into the atmosphere as CO2 (think green house gas).
The open ocean is much like a desert (aside from water). It contains sparse quantities of key nutrients needed to survive (Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Sulfur). Thus, the organisms that live in the ocean have to compete for the nutrients available.
Here is a clip from my presentation, in it I summarize the above as well as present the data I collected. You can't hear me that well so turn up the volume.
It was a neat experience. Now all I have left is a lot more testing and to write the paper summarizing my results.