College of Ocean and Earth Sciences, Xiamen University
IME Research Team Won the Second Prize of 2015 China’s National Natural Science Award
COE COE 2016/1/9 1114

On the morning of January 8, 2016, the Annual Ceremony of the National Science and Technology Awards took place at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Liu Yunshan, and Zhang Gaoli, members of the Central Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China, all attended the ceremony, and granted the representatives of the winners the National Natural Science Awards, the National Technological Invention Awards, the National Science and Technology Progress Awards, and the International Science and Technology Cooperation Awards.

The grand occasion announced 42 national natural science awards, including 1 first prize and 41 second prizes. Among the 41 second prizes is there only one for Marine Science. The Role of Microbes in the Ocean Carbon Storage and Climate Change, expounding the findings of IME research team at Xiamen University, won the second prize of 2015 National Natural Science Award. Headed by Professor Nianzhi Jiao, the research team consists of Professor Yao Zhang, Senior Engineer Tingwei Luo, Professor Rui Zhang, and Assistant Professor Qiang Zheng. It is worth mentioning that IME research team won the second prize for the second time.

Microbes play a key role in marine ecosystem and global change. Focusing on the marine carbon cycling, Nianzhi Jiao’s team probes into microcosmic ecological processes and macrocosmic environmental effects of marine microbes. By method innovation and large-scale field test, the project successfully identified the global pattern of AAPB (Aerobic Anoxygenic Phototrophic Bacteria, a typical microbial functional group) distribution, revealed the AAPB regulatory mechanisms and further investigated the reason why AAPB was not distributed as predicted according to theory previously. Inspired by a systematic study, Nianzhi Jiao’s team finally proposed, on this basis, a microbial carbon pump theory, in fact a new marine carbon storage mechanism.

Global distribution of AAPB

Photosynthesis gene cluster of AAPB

Paths of biological utilization of light energy and Carbon Cycling in the ocean

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