Dr Lauren Messer

Post Doctoral Research Fellow

Biological and Environmental Sciences Stirling

Dr Lauren Messer

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About me

About me

I am an early career researcher with a passion for understanding the complexities of the microbial world. To date, my research has centred around determining the structure and function of microbial assemblages and their impacts on the health of marine ecosystems. In order to address this inherently interdisciplinary topic, I have developed expertise in a wide range of disciplines including microbiology, ecology, oceanography, biogeochemistry, environmental genomics, bioinformatics and multivariate statistics, as well gaining considerable experience in field-based research.

In my current role within BES, I am investigating marine microbe-pollutant interactions as part of the NERC funded project, "Sources, impacts and solutions for plastics in South East Asia coastal environments". In this project we are using meta-omics to determine the dynamics of microbial colonisation of the plastisphere and to decipher microbial functional roles within this novel but ubiquitous niche.

Research

Across all environments on Earth, microorganisms play a critical role in the biogeochemical cycling of key elements required for life, many of which are also important determinants of global climate. It is therefore vital to determine the specific functional roles of microorganisms within the context of the environments they inhabit, to truly understand the healthy functioning of a given ecosystem.

Within the marine environment, microorganisms constitute 90% of all ocean biomass, ultimately laying the foundation of the marine food web and controlling fluxes of carbon, nitrogen, and climate-active gases between the ocean and atmosphere. The combined activities of marine microbial communities underpins the societal and economic wealth and health (‘Blue Economy’) of the Ocean. As such, understanding the identities and functions of these organisms, and the environmental factors that determine their abundance and distribution, is a key facet to managing and preserving the marine estate now and into the future.

The overarching goal of my research is to employ environmental genomics and biogeochemical approaches to gain insights into the evolution and ecology of marine microbial communities. My current and former research includes free-living, host- and particle-associated microorganisms from the tropics to temperate latitudes, spanning coastal, open-ocean, and coral reef environments. At present, I am characterising microbial communities colonising marine plastic pollution to understand how this community functions. This collectively contributes to our understanding of how marine microorganisms impact the maintenance of healthy and productive marine ecosystems.

Outputs (17)

Outputs

Article

Lee C, Messer L, Holland S, Gutierrez T, Quilliam R & Matallana-Surget S (2023) The primary molecular influences of marine plastisphere formation and function: Novel insights into organism -organism and -co-pollutant interactions.. Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology, pp. 1-24. https://doi.org/10.1080/10643389.2023.2224182


Article

O’Brien J, McParland EL, Bramucci AR, Siboni N, Ostrowski M, Kahlke T, Levine NM, Brown MV, van de Kamp J, Bodrossy L, Messer LF, Petrou K & Seymour JR (2022) Biogeographical and seasonal dynamics of the marine Roseobacter community and ecological links to DMSP-producing phytoplankton. ISME Communications, 2 (1), Art. No.: 16. https://doi.org/10.1038/s43705-022-00099-3


Article

Trevathan-Tackett SM, Sherman CDH, Huggett MJ, Campbell AH, Laverock B, Hurtado-McCormick V, Seymour JR, Firl A, Messer LF, Ainsworth TD, Negandhi KL, Daffonchio D, Egan S, Engelen AH & Fusi M (2019) A horizon scan of priorities for coastal marine microbiome research. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 3 (11), pp. 1509-1520. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-019-0999-7


Article

Brown MV, van de Kamp J, Ostrowski M, Seymour JR, Ingleton T, Messer LF, Jeffries T, Siboni N, Laverock B, Bibiloni-Isaksson J, Nelson TM, Coman F, Davies CH, Frampton D, Rayner M, Goossen K & Robert S (2018) Systematic, continental scale temporal monitoring of marine pelagic microbiota by the Australian Marine Microbial Biodiversity Initiative. Scientific Data, 5 (1), Art. No.: 180130. https://doi.org/10.1038/sdata.2018.130


Article

Doblin MA, Petrou K, Sinutok S, Seymour JR, Messer LF, Brown MV, Norman L, Everett JD, McInnes AS, Ralph PJ, Thompson PA & Hassler CS (2016) Nutrient uplift in a cyclonic eddy increases diversity, primary productivity and iron demand of microbial communities relative to a western boundary current. PeerJ, 4, Art. No.: e1973. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1973


Article

Tout J, Siboni N, Messer LF, Garren M, Stocker R, Webster NS, Ralph PJ & Seymour JR (2015) Increased seawater temperature increases the abundance and alters the structure of natural Vibrio populations associated with the coral Pocillopora damicornis. Frontiers in Microbiology, 6, Art. No.: 432. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2015.00432


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