Microbial metabolites in the marine carbon cycle

Mary Ann Moran, Elizabeth B. Kujawinski, William F. Schroer, Shady A. Amin, Nicholas R. Bates, Erin M. Bertrand, Rogier Braakman, C. Titus Brown, Markus W. Covert, Scott C. Doney, Sonya T. Dyhrman, Arthur S. Edison, A. Murat Eren, Naomi M. Levine, Liang Li, Avena C. Ross, Mak A. Saito, Alyson E. Santoro, Daniel Segrè, Ashley ShadeMatthew B. Sullivan, Assaf Vardi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


One-quarter of photosynthesis-derived carbon on Earth rapidly cycles through a set of short-lived seawater metabolites that are generated from the activities of marine phytoplankton, bacteria, grazers and viruses. Here we discuss the sources of microbial metabolites in the surface ocean, their roles in ecology and biogeochemistry, and approaches that can be used to analyse them from chemistry, biology, modelling and data science. Although microbial-derived metabolites account for only a minor fraction of the total reservoir of marine dissolved organic carbon, their flux and fate underpins the central role of the ocean in sustaining life on Earth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)508-523
Number of pages16
JournalNature Microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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