Traveller’s Tales: Britten visits Dalhousie

Greg Britten from the MIT CBIOMES Group travels to Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada

Greg Britten spent a week in October visiting the Dalhousie CBIOMES team to discuss CBIOMES-related research with CBIOMES investigators Professors Zoe Finkel, Andrew Irwin, and Dalhousie faculty Mike Dowd, Keith Thompson, Boris Worm, Derek Tittensor, and postdoctoral researcher Dan Boyce.  Britten describes their discussions as “highly productive”, laying the ground work for a planned model-data integration of the global Darwin model with the diversity of biological datasets being gathered and curated by the CBIOMES team.

In particular, Greg hopes to integrate new biological observations into the Darwin modeling framework to help inform the physiological parameters of the modeled plankton populations. A unique aspect of the project, Greg says, is the need to focus not only on the parameters themselves, but also on the correlations among parameters within and across species that will inform us about the physiological trade-offs plankton experience in their environment. Identifying these correlations will require careful statistical analysis, drawing information from a range of biological and oceanographic data sources.

Britten, who before his PhD, completed a BSc in statistics and an MSc in biology at Dalhousie in his hometown of Halifax, Canada says, “Dalhousie has a wealth of oceanographic knowledge spanning from plankton physiology to numerical ocean data assimilation which I was able to draw upon during my visit. I look forward to maintaining a strong collaboration with the Dalhousie team throughout my postdoc with CBIOMES as we continue to build new models of marine microbes informed by CBIOMES data ”

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