A grant has been awarded to the University of Minnesota Duluth under the supervision of Drs. Stephanie Guildford, Randall Hicks and Julie Etterson for the purchase of a flow cytometer to be used for scientific research in both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem ecology. Flow cytometry is a process that enables scientists to count, sort and characterize microscopic size particles. Dr. Guildford will employ the new instrument in projects that quantify the contribution of photosynthetic bacteria to the overall productivity of Lake Superior and in projects to examine environmental factors that determine whether the genes for toxin production are expressed in toxic photosynthetic bacteria such as Microcystis, a toxic cyanobacteria that has reached nuisance proportions in parts of the North American Great Lakes since the invasion of the zebra and quagga mussels. Dr. Hicks will use the instrument in his great lakes research which addresses the pivotal role of bacteria in the cycling of nitrogen in the world?s largest lake and to further his investigation into the ecology of aquatic Archaea that have become an important paleoclimatic tool for interpreting past climate conditions. Dr. Etterson will use this instrument to characterize the abundance and distribution of plants with different genome sizes in a polyploid goldenrod and other native species. She will use this information to further our understanding of the relationship between genome size and adaptation to climate change.<br/><br/>The broader impacts of this award include the the advancement of knowledge across the biological sciences and the training of new scientific investigators. These efforts will enable new collaborations at the University of Minnesota. Students will receive training on the instrumentation through coursework and research activities providing them with access to cutting-edge research tools.
MRI: Acquisition of a Flow Cytometer for Aquatic Ecosystem Research