Diversity and dynamics of marine haptophytes

About the project

Haptophytes are important primary producers in the marine pelagic community. Haptophyte blooms may also have a major impact on the global carbon balance and on climate forcing, and toxins may cause fish-kills. We lack knowledge on their biodiversity and quantitative distribution and dynamics at the species and population level. The main objective is to provide new knowledge on the biodiversity, seasonal dynamics of haptophytes from North Atlantic waters, and how the species composition, diversity, life cycle and abundance are affected by environmental factors. The abundance and distribution of haptophyte specific viruses will be examined, and how they affect the haptophyte diversity. In the proposed project we will take in use the latest technologies in molecular biology and microbiology and apply these to allow quantification at the species and population level of haptophytes and their viruses. The biodiversity will be explored by a.o. environmental pyrosequencing, electron microscopy and culturing. Seasonal dynamics will be examined by combining the use of microscopy, molecular probes, flow cytometry and water chemistry upon the analyses of natural samples collected from coastal waters through the year. The project will improve the understanding of the dynamics in the marine pico- and nanophytoplankton community, where haptophytes play a significant role. This will increase our understanding on fundamental processes in the plankton.


The primary objective is to explore the biodiversity and dynamics of haptophytes from North European coastal waters, and clarify how species composition, diversity and abundance are affected by environmental factors. From the questions addressed the following sub-goals can be put up: 1. Reveal the haptophyte biodiversity in North European coastal waters. 2. Develop methodology for quantification of haptophytes from class to species level. 3. Unravel the seasonal distribution and abundance of haptophytes down to species level, and the effects of environmental factors. 4. Provide new knowledge on haptophyte life cycle strategies 5. Bring new strains of haptophytes and their specific viruses into culture as a resource for further studies on their taxonomy, genomics, evolution and ecology. 6. Refine methods for determination of specific viruses 7. Describe distribution of haptophyte viruses in Norwegian coastal waters and correlate this to the host species composition, distribution and abundance.


  • The Research Council of Norway


Published Apr. 27, 2011 01:42 PM - Last modified July 18, 2016 11:05 AM