Seminar by Dr. Noriko Okamoto, Hakai Institute
Beaches account for 2/3 of the marine coastline of the world. Despite the ubiquity and proximity to human activities, the sandy beach is less studied than other environments. The beaches are exposed to perpetual changes such as desiccation and extreme temperature fluctuation due to the tidal cycle and erosion due to seasonal storms. While this dynamic nature poses a challenge to the beach study, it also creates a unique habitat for microscopic organisms.
Since my graduate student years, I have been exploring the marine beach environment searching for the over-looked biodiversity of the single-cell eukaryotes, or protists. In the talk, I share my discoveries of the beach protists, such as Hatena arenicola, and other curious examples. These discoveries imply a diverse, untapped protist community in the beach sand. This realization led me to conduct a beach microbiome survey to shed light on the zonation pattern of the beach microbial community.
If time permits, I will also touch on another hunting ground - the deep sea water, and introduce some protists that flourish in the abyss.