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Aquatic ecosystems are critical resources for the sustainability of societies and cultures. Securing sustainable access to sufficient quantities of safe water for consumption, domestic and technical use is a global challenge of increasing concern. There is also considerable uncertainty about the impacts of climate and environmental change on aquatic ecosystems even if we already have good reason to believe that the microbiological and chemical quality of surface waters will be compromised. Both marine and freshwater ecosystems can affect the climate through an array of feedback loops. For example, the efficiency of the biological carbon pump and associated sequestration of terrestrial and aquatic organic matter are dynamic processes that control atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Currently, we have a very poor understanding of how these processes will change in response to climate and environmental change.

Our research deals with aquatic microorganisms and their multiple roles in aquatic ecosystems, particularly as mediators of biogeochemical processes of global significance and as agents of disease. We aim for a mechanistic understanding of these complex ecosystems and the microbial communities within them, while at the same time assessing how environmental and climate change will affect the spread and persistence of aquatic pathogens as well as the functional features of microbial communties (e.g. capacity to degrade organic pollutants and biopolymers as well as autotrophic carbon fixation). We do not restrict ourselves to work exclusively in either freshwater or marine ecosystems. Instead, we let the scientific question direct our choice of model system.

Examples of Bertilsson Lab projects 2002-2008:

-Cyanobacterial blooms and diversity of associated bacterioplankton: phylogenetic and functional coupling(2002-2003)

-Linking microbial diversity and individual populations to heterotrophic ecophysiology in freshwater systems(2003)

-Development of novel array-based methods to assess the diversity and organic-degrading activities of individual bacterial populations in complex communities(2002-2003)

-Environmental Risks Associated with Coastal Cyanobacterial Blooms:-Does phytoplankton-derived DOC promote pathogenic Vibrio sp. in aquatic systems? (2003-2004)

-Environmental Control of Vibrio populations in coastal waters(2004-2005)

-Heterotrophic Microorganisms and the carbon cycle: linking bacterial diversity to ecosystem scale processes (2005)

-Photocatalytic purification of drinking water(2005)

-How important is metabolic and biochemical diversity at the level of single cells and populations in controlling cycling of organic matter in aquatic microbial communities(2006-2008)

-Microbiomics for agriculture, forestry and freshwater management: A strong research environment in Uppsala (2005-2010)

-Non-extremophile archaea in freshwaters: What are their roles in biogeochemical processes? (2008)

-CHEMOARCH -Identity and biogeochemical role of chemoautotrophic prokaryotes in aquatic ecosystems (2008-2010)

-Mapping the microflora of the Baltic Sea (2008-2009)

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