Jude Apple ~ Entrepreneurial Ecologist

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Microbial Communities Under Stress

Ocean acidification lab
Jude, SPMC, and community college faculty work on an ocean acidification lab activity
What are the pressing questions science needs to address? Dr. Jude Apple's PhD dissertation focused on the role of heterotrophic microbes in biogeochemical cycling in coastal systems. From this work he knew that scientists have little understanding of how heterotrophic microbes will respond to ocean acidification – a situation that he finds exciting from a basic science standpoint. In addition, there is the practical fact that ocean acidification chambers were built and are maintained at Shannon Point Marine Center (SPMC), where he works. Thus ocean acidification became a research focus. "Working on ocean acidification is exciting" says Jude. "It's relevant and has larger consequences."

"A soft money scientist has to be forward thinking."
Jude is in the process of refining his research questions as they relate to ocean acidification. There has been substantial research on the effect of ocean acidification on macrofauna such as coral reefs and bivalves. But there is not much understanding of how biogeochemical cycles are going to change, or how plankton dynamics will change. Jude is interested in investigating how ocean acidification, elevated CO2 and temperature will affect microbial communities – specifically the effect on their metabolism, genetic make-up, and influence on the capacity of global oceans to sequester atmospheric CO2. In the proposal he most recently submitted there is funding available for a graduate student, which is another motivator - Jude is the advisor to a grad student who is looking at effects of elevated CO2 on biogeochemical processes of plankton communities.