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    With the sequencing of microbial genomes now almost routine in some circles, one could be forgiven for feeling a little jaded. However, reports in this week's Nature powerfully demonstrate how genomics can lead to a new understanding of biodiversity, ecology and biogeochemistry. This collection, along with other analysis of key components of the ocean's food web, highlights the significance of genome sequences from the sea, and, as with all of Nature's genome content, these papers are available free online.

Genome sequences from the sea
Despite their diminutive stature, phytoplankton have a huge global influence. The genomes of four strains of phytoplankton have now been completely sequenced, revealing their genetic adaptations to distinct marine niches.
Jed Fuhrman
Nature 424, 1001 (28 Aug 2003)

The genome of a motile marine Synechococcus
B. Palenik et al.
Nature 424, 1037 (28 Aug 2003)

Genome divergence in two Prochlorococcus ecotypes reflects oceanic niche differentiation
Gabrielle Rocap et al.
Nature 424, 1042 (28 Aug 2003)

Cyanophages infecting the oceanic cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus
Matthew B. Sullivan, John B. Waterbury & Sallie W. Chisholm
Nature 424, 1047 (28 Aug 2003)

Low-light-adapted Prochlorococcus species possess specific antennae for each photosystem
T. S. Bibby, I. Mary, J. Nield, F. Partensky & J. Barber
Nature 424, 1051 (28 Aug 2003)

High diversity of unknown picorna-like viruses in the sea
Alexander I. Culley, Andrew S. Lang & Curtis A. Suttle
Nature 424, 1054 (28 Aug 2003)

All at sea
The oceans are full of microorganisms, which are thought to cycle nutrients and mediate climate on a global scale. Despite these environmental consequences, marine microbial biodiversity remains poorly understood. Jon Copley reports.
Jon Copley
Nature 415, 572 -574 (07 Feb 2002)

Microbial food webs: The ocean's veil
Victor Smetacek
Nature 415, 565 (10 Oct 2002)

Microbiological oceanography: Hidden in a sea of microbes
The photosynthetic activities of bacteria in the oceans are more diverse than previously thought. A full picture of the marine energy budget will require their separate contributions to be teased apart.
David M. Karl
Nature 415, 590 - 591 (07 Feb 2002)

Oceanography: Stirring times in the Southern Ocean
Sallie W. Chisholm
Nature 407, 685 - 687 (12 Oct 2000)

Oceanography: Sea snow microcosms
Marine bacteria can respond to organic particles in sea water, creating hotspots of bacterial growth and carbon cycling. This microscale behaviour should be included in models of the oceanic carbon cycle.
Fraooq Azam and Richard A. Long
Nature 414, 495 - 498 (29 Nov 2001)

Anaerobic ammonium oxidation by anammox bacteria in the Black Sea
Marcel M. M. Kuypers, A. Olav Sliekers, Gaute Lavik, Markus Schmid, Bo Barker J�rgensen, J. Gijs Kuenen, Jaap S. Sinninghe Damst�, Marc Strous, Mike S. M. Jetten
Nature 422, 608 - 611 (10 Apr 2003)

Unsuspected diversity among marine aerobic anoxygenic phototrophs
Oded B�j�, Marcelino T. Suzuki, John F. Heidelberg, William C. Nelson, Christina M. Preston, Tohru Hamada, Jonathan A. Eisen, Claire M. Fraser, Edward F. DeLong
Nature 415, 630 - 633 (07 Feb 2002)

Iron acquisition by photosynthetic marine phytoplankton from ingested bacteria
R. Marange, D. F. Bird, N. M. Price
Nature 396, 248 - 251 (19 Nov 1998)

Photosynthesis or planktonic respiration?
Richard J. Geider,
Nature 388, 132 (10 Jul 1997)

Respiration in the open ocean
Paul A. Del Giorgio, Carlos M. Duarte
Nature 420, 379 - 384 (28 Nov 2002)


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