Research Team

Mick Follows

Department of Earth, Atmosphere and Planetary Sciences

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

We use theory and numerical models to understand and simulate the organization of marine phytoplankton populations in the global open ocean. We seek to understand how the physical, chemical and predatory environment shapes the diversity and functionality of the plankton communities, and how the organisms feed back on their environment. Our global simulations helped to motivate targeted observations during theĀ Tara Oceans sampling expedition. We will further develop and use these models to interpret and simulate the basin and global-scale patterns observed in the samples.

Relevant publications

  1. Dutkiewicz, S., B. A. Ward, F. Monteiro, and M. J. Follows (2012), Interconnection of nitrogen fixers and iron in the Pacific Ocean: Theory and numerical simulations, Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 26, GB1012, DOI:10.1029/2011GB004039.
  2. Ward, B., S. Dutkiewicz, A.D. Barton and M.J. Follows (2011) Biophysical aspects of mixotrophic resource acquisition and competition. The American Naturalist, 178(1), 98-112.
  3. Saito, M.A., E.M. Bertrand, S. Dutkiewicz, V.V. Bulygin, D.M. Moran, F.M. Monteiro, M.J. Follows, F.W. Valois, J.B. Waterbury (2011) Iron Conservation by Reduction of Metalloenzyme Inventories in the Marine Diazotroph Crocosphaera watsonii. PNAS, DOI 10.1073/pnas.1006943108.
  4. Barton, A.D, S. Dutkiewicz, J. Bragg, G. Flierl and M.J. Follows (2010) Patterns of marine phytoplankton diversity. Science, 327, 1509-1511, DOI: 10.1126/science.1184961.
  5. Follows, M.J., S. Dutkiewicz, S. Grant and S.W. Chisholm (2007) Emergent biogeography of microbial communities in a model ocean. Science, 315, 1843-1846, DOI: 10.1126/science.1138544.

The scientific activities of the Tara Oceans expedition, led by EMBL senior scientist Eric Karsenti, present an unprecedented effort that resulted in 35,000 samples containing millions of small organism collected in more than 210 ocean stations, chosen for their climatic significance or biodiversity.