Francesca Iuculano and Raquel Gutierrez

Role in MedSeA Stareso:
During the experimental period at Stareso station our tasks will be to measure and quantify how increases in pCO2 may affect the production of transparent exopolimeric particles (TEP), the absorption of particle light and chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM). We will also obtain daily underwater irradiance profile in UV wavelengths, by using a PUVR 2500 radiometer.
Furthermore, we will run additional experiments with some acidified treatment to test the synergic effects of low pH/high pCO2and increases in solar radiation, as a consequence of global changes, on the interactions between microorganisms and organic matter.
Thoughts about this journey:
We are really excited to take part in the mesocosms experiments in a wonderful site in the Mediterranean Sea and we are very lucky to have the opportunity to join the MedSeA project. Last year we participated in the Malaspina research oceanographic expedition and we enjoyed being part of teamwork. We think field works are a great chance to improve our scientific and experimental knowledge and here specifically to learn a lot about ocean acidification and how mesocosms work. Moreover we are particularly excited to operate within an international team of expert researchers.
We hope to contribute at better elucidating the issue of what is happening in a low pH/high CO2in order to predict future environmental scenarios.

More about my research:
I have obtained a BSc in Biological Science and a MSc in Marine Biology from University of Trieste, Italy. I then moved to Spain to attend a MSc in Global Change (UIMP/CSIC) and I am currently a first year PhD student at IMEDEA, in the department of Global Change Research.
My investigation focuses on the experimental analysis of the synergic effects of anthropogenic forces in marine ecosystems, such as increases in seawater temperature, pCO2 levels and UVR on microbial prokaryotic (photo- and hetero-trophs) community, on metabolism and bacterial carbon utilization. I am also looking at the photo-bleaching process caused by exposition to higher UV radiation to see if may stimulate bacterial activity, by generating a lower molecular weight chromophoric dissolved organic matter, more labile and useful for bacteria, thus enhancing heterotrophic metabolism. Moreover, I am going to test if TEP’s generation is higher under solar radiation and in presence of microorganisms. Particularly I am interested in investigating whether these gel particles acts as photo-protective system against the stress induced by UVR and as consequence of higher exudation, due to phytoplankton cell lyses.

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