The sun came out in Woods Hole late this week, shocking many who had grown used to the downpours of the past month. It’s summer! Meanwhile, publications have been streaming out of the MBL labs. Hugh Ducklow, director of the MBL’s Ecosystems Center, co-authored a paper in this month’s Nature Reviews Microbiology, which predicts that a flourishing of bacteria may have a negative impact on polar food webs as ice sheets melt. In the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans, the scientists discovered, bacterial community growth is more dependent on organic carbon produced by phytoplankton than on temperature. As ice melts and more light penetrates the oceans, phytoplankton will flourish and organic carbon will increase. Bacterial populations will likely grow to consume the excess carbon, releasing more of it into the atmosphere as CO2, and leaving less carbon for other marine organisms that rely on it for food. The paper, “Microbial growth in the polar oceans – role of temperature and potential impact of climate change,” is co-authored by David Kirchman and MBL visiting scientist Xosé Anxelu G. Morán.

Sea ice in Antarctica. Photo by Xosé Anxelu G. Morán.

Icebergs in Antarctica. Photo by Xosé Anxelu G. Morán.

Some other recent MBL publications are: “Light-transduction in melanopsin-expressing photoreceptors of amphioxus,” by Maria del Pilar Gomez et al.; “Functional Overlap of Microtubule Assembly Factors in Chromatin-Promoted Spindle Assembly,” by Aaron Groen and other members of the summer collaborative MBL Cell Division Group; “Protein families reflect metabolic diversity of organisms and provide support for functional prediction,” by Margrethe H. Serres and colleagues; “Plasmodium possesses dynein light chain classes that are unique and conserved across species,” co-authored by Andrew G. McArthur; “Schistosoma mansoni P-glycoprotein levels increase in response to praziquantel exposure and correlate with reduced praziquantel susceptibility,” by Shanta Messerli and colleagues; and “Cuttlefish use visual cues to control three-dimensional skin papillae for camouflage,” by Justine Allen and other members of Roger Hanlon’s laboratory.