Marine microbes play a critical role in sustaining our planet. They are small organisms of immense significance, producing ~50% of the oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere and removing much of its carbon dioxide. However, due to climate change, their ocean habitats are undergoing unprecedented change; parts of the ocean are warming and becoming more acidic. How marine microbes experience this increasingly variable environment is an important question for ocean scientists to consider because impacts to microbes will cascade all the way through socio-ecological systems; the future of marine microbes is a global concern.
The ocean is vast and remains largely unexplored, rendering a significant challenge for oceanographic research. Through representative models of the ocean’s surface circulation, Adrift provides a simulated web environment that makes all parts of the ocean accessible and allows unprecedented aggregation of data across the dynamic seascape. Our objective in this project is to characterise the experience of drifting marine microbes in order to more accurately test their environmental tolerances in laboratory experiments.
Adrift calls on citizen scientists to help map the ocean trajectories of marine microbes within the simulated web environment. By compiling data along drift trajectories, citizens will help ocean scientists better understand the biological experiences of marine microbes and more accurately predict their future.