Not all microbes are equal: Defining keystone microbes and planktonic guilds within Australias oceans

  • Ostrowski, Martin (Primary Chief Investigator)
  • Brown, Mark (Chief Investigator)
  • Seymour, Justin (Chief Investigator)
  • Fuhrman, Jed (Partner Investigator)
  • Levine, Naomi (Partner Investigator)
  • Edwards, Robert (Partner Investigator)
  • Bodrossy, Levente (Partner Investigator)

Project: Research

Project Details


This project aims to unveil the ocean’s hidden sentinels, those “keystone microbes” that underpin precious ecosystem services, and through which changes in ocean function can be monitored and modelled. Marine microbes account for 90% of oceanic biomass and every litre of seawater contains ~20,000 different species, but we don’t yet know which species are most pivotal in controlling ocean health and productivity. This unique project will remove traditional methodological biases and limitations to reveal these keystones, and provide definitive evidence of their cellular level biogeochemical and metabolic capacity. Ultimately, this knowledge will enhance our capacity to predict the resilience of ocean ecosystems and their response to change.

Layman's description

Ocean health is an under appreciated commodity that its estimated will be worth $125 billion p/a to Australia by 2025. This research will help maximise wealth generation from our vast marine assets by pinpointing the invisible but crucial keystone microbial species that maintain ocean health. The capacity to predict their dynamics will help provide investment clarity and increase healthy outcomes from activities involving human-ocean interactions such as recreation, food production and tourism.
Short titleAustralia's Keystone Marine Microbes
Effective start/end date1/01/17 → …