Mapping the Uncharted Diversity of Arctic Marine Microbes

Mission Logs

Follow along as participants in the cruise provide updates and reflections on their experiences, the science, the technology, and other elements of the expedition.

  • Detecting Patterns of Distribution in Arctic Marine Microbial Communities

    June 17, 2017  |  By Brian Philip Ulaski, Graduate Student – Biological Oceanography, University of Alaska Fairbanks

    Distributions of temperature (A), and relative abundances Pelagibacter (B), Teleaulax (C), and Sulfitobacter (D) in surface waters (5 meters depth). Here you can see the contrasting distributions of Pelagibacter and Sulfitobacter within the Alaska Coastal Current

    To investigate spatial variability of microbial communities in the Arctic, scientists use geographic maps to visualize the relative abundance of individual taxa across stations and depths. They then compare these biological maps to maps of physical and chemical environmental conditions to make inferences about the ecology of the microorganisms that inhabit the Arctic.

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  • Microbe-metal Interactions in the Central Arctic Ocean

    June 17, 2017  |  By Eric Collins, University of Alaska Fairbanks

    Map of samples collected during the Arctic GEOTRACES Cruise in 2015.

    The ocean has many layers which often do not interact with each other, meaning that some layers can become isolated for hundreds of years or more. As they become isolated, their physical, chemical, and biological properties change allowing us to track different water masses. One interesting property scientists can see within these water masses is metal content.

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  • Mapping the Diversity of Marine Microbial World with SEDNA: A Visual Mapping System Devised to Facilitate Active Exploration

    September 30, 2016  |  By Eric Collins, University of Alaska Fairbanks

    A cluster of bacterial sequences dominate this Arctic seawater sample.

    The primary goal of this project is to identify new microorganisms from extreme environments in the Arctic which are subject to rapid change as a consequence of global warming. That sounds straightforward, but how do we actually identify whether the microbes we find are new or not? To do it, we first need to know what is already known.

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  • DNA Extractions: Recipes for Isolating Genomic Identities

    January 11, 2016  |  By Brian Philip Ulaski, Graduate Student – Biological Oceanography, University of Alaska Fairbanks

    Washing away unwanted organic and inorganic materials from solution containing extracted microbial DNA.

    Now that we’ve finished collecting our samples, it’s time for us to trade in our survival suits for lab coats. Several expeditions to the Arctic in 2015 provided our lab with samples for subsequent molecular surveys of extreme microbial communities.

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  • Oceanographic Instruments

    August 21, 2015  |  By Eric Collins, Co-Expedition Principal Investigator, University of Alaska Fairbanks

    Gorgonocephalus sp., a basket star (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea).

    CTD. Bongo. Van Veen. HAPs. Bongo. PSBTA. IKMT. After three days, this list is now a ritual. Though seemingly gibberish at first, each of these items is the name of an oceanographic “instrument” that scientists “play” in the “orchestra” that is an oceanographic expedition.

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  • A Step Toward Mapping Microbial Diversity in the Arctic via the Barents Sea

    June 11, 2015  |  By Brian Philip Ulaski, Graduate Student, University of Alaska Fairbanks

    This image captures a glimpse from the ship’s bridge, facing the stern of the Johan Hjort on the day of departure in Tromsø, Norway.

    The day of departure was full of blue skies and smooth sailing. Spirits were high. As the scientific team and vessel crewmembers gazed at the passing snow-covered fjords, the Johan Hjort was embarking on its route toward the heart of the Barents Sea.

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