Juan  Ibarra

Juan Ibarra

Scholar Title

MIT CEE | Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar

Research Title

Ocean Microbial Metabolic Interactions: Prochlorococcus and its Surrounding Heterotrophs





Research Areas
  • Environment

Penny Chisholm


Prochlorococcus is the most abundant photosynthetic organism on the planet and is responsible for a significant portion of the ocean’ s net primary production. Prochlorococcus occupies the epipelagic layer of the open ocean, a nutrient dilute ecosystem. Because of their environment, the ecological community surrounding Prochlorococcus plays an important role in its behavior. The role of nitrogen within those relationships has been observed but poorly characterized. Here we hope to determine which heterotrophic bacteria interact with Prochlorococcus in the nitrogen cycle and understand the nature of these relationships. Overall, I hope to further our understanding of the role of Prochlorococcus in the ocean ecological web.


I am participating in SuperUROP because I am fascinated with the role that Prochlorococcus play in the global ecosystem. I want to contribute to the understanding of ocean bacterial communities. I also want to gain experience as a researcher and share my work with the MIT community.

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