Long-term time series on marine microbial diversity are scarce and represent one of the critical bottlenecks to better understanding of microbial oceanography. This is especially true for the southern hemisphere. The Australian Marine Microbial Biodiversity Initiative (AMMBI) was developed to address this gap. AMMBI was started in July 2012 and provides standardised, contextualized, continued monitoring of marine microbial diversity at marine national reference stations (NRS) in coastal waters around Australia. The project generates 16S and 18S tag sequencing data for Bacteria, Archaea and Eukaryote taxa, linked to rich physical, chemical and other biological observations provided by Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS).
Results from the first 3 years of AMMBI, based on 3 of the 7 marine NRSs along the East Australian Current indicate a strong annual pattern in temperate waters and a strong stratification in tropical waters. Correlations between bacterial, archaeal and eukaryote OTUs and physical and chemical observations provide a unique capacity to raise testable hypotheses about the ecology of uncultivated marine microbes. The talk will discuss selected stories illustrating this potential.