Cotner Lab Group




    Graduate Students



    Research Statement

The goal of my research program is to understand how bacteria and dissolved organic matter affect biogeochemical processes in aquatic systems. Microbes are incredibly important to ecosystem processes because of the great magnitude of their biomass and their diverse modes of heterotrophy (aerobic, sulfate reduction, methanogenesis, iron reduction) and autotrophy (sulfide oxidation, metal oxidation, photosynthesis). Because of this diversity of function, bacteria have significant impacts on the geochemistry of lakes, rivers and oceans.

I am particularly interested in how variation in microbial metabolism can affect ecosystem dynamics. Heterotrophic bacteria represent a greater proportion of pelagic biomass and production in oligotrophic than eutrophic systems. What are the implications of this for ecosystem structure and function? Are bacteria an important constraint to primary production in oligotrophic systems and does the relative abundance of bacteria impact whether ecosystems are net autotrophic vs. net heterotrophic?

I have examined microbial processes in a wide variety of habitats: pelagic and benthic, freshwater and marine, lotic and lentic, and natural and human-impacted systems. I am particularly interested in the impacts of humans on ecosystems and global biogeochemical processes.

Jim Cotner
414 Ecology Building
1987 Upper Buford Circle
University of Minnesota
St. Paul, MN 55108
Tel: 612-625-1706 mailto:cotne002@umn.edushapeimage_2_link_0

*The Cotner lab will pay for the first person to have this graphic tattooed on his/her body--Note that due to a lack of interested takers, we will now offer a bonus of $200 IN ADDITION to your tattoo costs!


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