Emily Chase - PhD Candidate - 2018 Class

Deciphering biodiversity and ecological role of viruses infecting microalgae
ED 251 - Sciences de l'environnement

Thesis Project Description: 

Algae are photosynthetic organisms that form the basis of the marine food chain, and half the primary productivity on Earth. These important microorganisms are partly regulated by the viruses infecting them. Algae serve as an important CO2  sink, given this and that CO2 emissions are an important factor in climate change, the viruses regulating algae become increasingly important. In biotechnology, the application of algae in biofuels or CO2 sequestration is not excluded from regulation by viruses. Consequently, these viruses have an impact on industry, and activities related to the mitigation of climate change.


The objectives of the project are to better understand the diversity and roles of algal viruses, an area which is currently poorly understood. This study will use sequencing technologies and bioinformatics to discover and characterise new viruses, and assess the diversity and ecological impact of these viruses in samples taken from an algal cultivation tank, which is used for biofuel production and remediation. Our results will contribute to climate change predictions, and help fill gaps in our understanding of algal viruses.

Thesis Supervisors: 

Guillaume BLANC
Christelle DESNUES

Interdisciplinary Research Axis: 

Climate change

Academic Background: 

Acadia University (CA)

Non-academic partner: