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Microbial interactions in spatially organised photogranules

Principal Supervisor: Prof Orkun Soyer

Co-supervisor: Richard Puxty

PhD project title: Microbial interactions in spatially organised photogranules

University of Registration: University of Warwick

Project outline:

In Nature, microbes live in spatially organised communities such as biofilms, mats, and granules. Such structures, and in particular granules and aggregates are found to form in various habitats such as the open ocean, freshwaters, and even bioreactors. In the open ocean and in freshwater, granules and aggregates are formed primarily by filamentous cyanobacteria. These emergent structures enable specific biogeochemical processes by cyanobacteria, including carbon and nitrogen fixation. We have developed a model cyanobacterial granule system, derived from a local freshwater reservoir. In this system, we have identified 15 species alongside the dominant cyanobacteria.

In this project, you will decipher the specific, metabolic interactions between these bacteria in the spatial context of the granule. We have already isolated several species from this system, allowing us to address both pairwise and higher-level interactions. Ideal candidates should have an interest in microbial ecology and application of quantitative methods to it.





BBSRC Strategic Research Priority: Understanding the rules of life Systems Biology, Stem Cells, and Microbiology, Renewable Resources and Clean Growth - Industrial Biotechnology, and Bio-Energy, and Integrated Understanding of Health - Pharmaceuticals.


Techniques that will be undertaken during the project:

metagenomics, proteomics, FISH, targeted metabolomics


Contact: Prof Orkun Soyer