Battle in the seven seas: A microbe's perspective

Dr Aditee Mitra
Research Fellow, Cardiff University

6th March 2024

For over a century, our understanding of marine ecology has been dominated by a plant-animal dichotomy similar to that on land. Thus, single-celled marine microalgae are considered to be plant-like producers, which are consumed by microscopic animals supporting larger animals on up to fish and whales. Marine research, management and monitoring are all based on this interpretation. However, over the last decade, we have found that this plant-animal interpretation is not correct. Microalgae are not plants; many also eat bacteria or other microalgae. To feed they variously smother or entrap their prey in snot, harpoon them, poison, explode, dissolve, or envelope them; some microalgae even insert drinking straws to suck out the contents of their prey. Various microalgae cannot even photosynthesise alone but must steal body parts or enslave other microalgae in order to acquire 'factories' for carbon fixation. This talk, with videos, will showcase the fascinating methods that microalgae exploit to fight for survival and proliferate across the sunlit oceans.

Annual General Meeting

This year's AGM will be held prior to the penultimate lecture of the programme on 6th March 2024.
Please join us from 18:15 - 19:00 where you will hear updates from the Executive Committee. Dr Mitra's lecture will take place at 19:00.