Although many times Subtropical oligotrophic gyres have been described as oceanic deserts, the vastness of their extent makes them important contributors to the global carbon and nitrogen cycle.
The South Pacific Gyre (SPG) is by far the largest among all the main gyre systems. Its enormity and extreme remoteness to any continent, that keeps it isolated from any nutritional input (within other qualities), making the SPG surface water layers the most oligotrophic in the global ocean. Where ultraviolet radiation (UVR) can penetrate the deepest ever described for oceanic waters. This phenomenon is only comparable to the purest freshwater. Furthermore, the upper water layers of the center of this gyre have shown the lowest chlorophyll fluorescence measurements, the highest temperatures and solar irradiance, just as barely detectable nitrate concentrations. However, previous studies, and on-board 16S rRNA tag sequencing as fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), during the UltraPac cruise, reported an unsuspected abundance of bacterial life.
My research is focused on the integration of data from metagenomics and metatranscriptomics to describe the mechanisms, pathways, strategies and adaptations the different inhabitant microbial clades develop to live there and to withstand the various stresses they can find in the center of the gyre. In addition, how the expression patterns of these pathways can change across the center of the gyre and if they are influenced by depth in this ultra-oligotrophic environment.