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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Awardee:LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY
Doing Business As Name:Louisiana State University
PD/PI:
  • Edward A Laws
  • (225) 578-8800
  • edlaws@lsu.edu
Award Date:08/10/2015
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 189,806
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 189,806
  • FY 2015=$189,806
Start Date:10/01/2015
End Date:03/31/2020
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.050
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Collaborative Research: Effects of multiple stressors on Marine Phytoplankton
Federal Award ID Number:1536581
DUNS ID:075050765
Parent DUNS ID:940050792
Program:BIOLOGICAL OCEANOGRAPHY
Program Officer:
  • Michael Sieracki
  • (703) 292-7585
  • msierack@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:202 Himes Hall
City:Baton Rouge
State:LA
ZIP:70803-2701
County:Baton Rouge
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:06

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Louisiana State University & Agricultural and Mechanical College
Street:
City:
State:LA
ZIP:70803-2701
County:Baton Rouge
Country:US
Cong. District:06

Abstract at Time of Award

The overarching goal of this project is to develop a framework for understanding the response of phytoplankton to multiple environmental stresses. Marine phytoplankton, which are tiny algae, produce as much oxygen as terrestrial plants and provide food, directly or indirectly, to all marine animals. Their productivity is thus important both for global elemental cycles of oxygen and carbon, as well as for the productivity of the ocean. Globally the productivity of marine phytoplankton appears to be changing, but while we have some understanding of the response of phytoplankton to shifts in one environmental parameter at a time, like temperature, there is very little knowledge of their response to simultaneous changes in several parameters. Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations result in both ocean acidification and increased surface water temperatures. The latter in turn leads to greater ocean stratification and associated changes in light exposure and nutrient availability for the plankton. Recently it has become apparent that the response of phytoplankton to simultaneous changes in these growth parameters is not additive. For example, the effect of ocean acidification may be severe at one temperature-light combination and negligible at another. The researchers of this project will carry out experiments that will provide a theoretical understanding of the relevant interactions so that the impact of climate change on marine phytoplankton can be predicted in an informed way. This project will engage high schools students through training of a teacher and the development of a teaching unit. Undergraduate and graduate students will work directly on the research. A cartoon journalist will create a cartoon story on the research results to translate the findings to a broader general public audience. Each phytoplankton species has the capability to acclimatize to changes in temperature, light, pCO2, and nutrient availability - at least within a finite range. However, the response of phytoplankton to multiple simultaneous stressors is frequently complex, because the effects on physiological responses are interactive. To date, no datasets exist for even a single species that could fully test the assumptions and implications of existing models of phytoplankton acclimation to multiple environmental stressors. The investigators will combine modeling analysis with laboratory experiments to investigate the combined influences of changes in pCO2, temperature, light, and nitrate availability on phytoplankton growth using cultures of open ocean and coastal diatom strains (Thalassiosira pseudonana) and an open ocean cyanobacteria species (Synechococcus sp.). The planned experiments represent ideal case studies of the complex and interactive effects of environmental conditions on organisms, and results will provide the basis for predictive modeling of the response of phytoplankton taxa to multiple environmental stresses.

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