Juan Ibarra

Juan  Ibarra
MIT CEE | Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar
Advisor: Penny Chisholm
Department: CEE
Areas of Research: Environment
Years: 2021-2022
Research Project Title:

Ocean Microbial Metabolic Interactions: Prochlorococcus and its Surrounding Heterotrophs

abstract: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.