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Estimating Rates of Marine Picoplankton Production: A Novel Approach

PI: Brian Binder (Dept of Marine Sciences, Univ of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA)

Support: Georgia Sea Grant College Program (R/AT-4-PD)

Timeframe: 6/1/97 - 12/31/99 (complete)

Project Overview:
Photosynthetic picoplankton are important primary producers in many marine ecosystems. Carbon fixed by these picoplankton populations is thought to be primarily available to higher trophic levels via the microbial food web. Yet the factors regulating picoplankton populations are poorly understood at present. An important step for improving our understanding of these factors is the development of facile methods for measuring the growth rates of the relevant populations in situ. This project is directed toward developing techniques for assessing the growth rates of natural picoplankton populations using rRNA-targeted Protein Nucleic Acid (PNA) probes.


  • PNA probe methods developed for Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus - and applied to natural samples with excellent results.
  • First reported whole-cell hybridization of Prochlorococcus species.

Worden, A.Z., S.W. Chisholm, and B.J. Binder. 2000. In situ hybridization of Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus (marine Cyanobacteria) spp. with rRNA-targeted peptide nucleic acid probes. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 66:284-289.

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This page was updated October 13, 2006