How do eukaryotic phytoplankton produce the most abundant organo-sulphur compound in the world's oceans?

Lead Research Organisation: University of East Anglia
Department Name: Biological Sciences

Abstract

There is a molecule, called dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP) which is made in very large amounts - a billion tons per year, worldwide - by myriads of tiny single-celled marine plankton, many seaweeds and a few land plants that live near the seaside. In some of these, most of the sulphur and much of the carbon is in the form of this molecule, but the influence of DMSP is even more wide-ranging than that. Despite its abundance, there is no clear agreement as to what is the function of the DMSP - maybe it buffers the cells from the saltiness of the sea, maybe it acts as a defence compound against attack by predators, maybe it protects against ultraviolet light. - maybe it is a molecular jack of all trades.
DMSP is not only interesting in its own right, but it also has a chemical legacy, since it is the parent compound for other molecules that are also very important. When the plant-like organisms that make DMSP release it into the environment, either by leakage, or more dramatically when they are lysed by viruses or microscopic animals, it is used as a tasty food source by the teeming marine bacteria and some fungi in a process of DMSP catabolism. This represents a massive part of the global sulphur cycle, but even that is not all.
One of the DMSP breakdown products is a gas, called dimethyl sulphide (DMS), which has important environmental impacts in its own right. Of the 300 million tons of DMS made each year in the oceans and their margins, around 10% escapes into the atmosphere, where it gets oxidised to sulphate and sulphuric acid. These molecules act as "Cloud Condensation Nuclei", which cause clouds to form, just as specks of dust can start crystals growing in crystal gardens. This occurs on such a scale that it is responsible for much of the cloud cover over the seas and oceans and may affect the amount of solar heat and light that arrives on Earth - a form of "Global Dimming". The DMS also acts as a signal for many marine animals - birds, seals and tiny crustaceans - since it is a chemical signature for their plankton food supplies. Also to us, as Homo sapiens, DMS is part of the smell of the seaside, especially when there is a lot of seaweed about.
Although there have been some nice preliminary studies in which the general pathways for DMSP synthesis have been described, none of the purified enzymes or corresponding genes have been identified in any DMSP-producing organism. This lack of knowledge has made it hard to work out unambiguously what are the true functions of DMSP.
This study focuses on one group of phytoplankton, collectively known as diatoms, which produce large amounts of DMSP. These microscopic plant-like organisms are abundant in the world's oceans - all told, they make up a quarter of Earth's plant life by weight and they produce around the same proportion of the oxygen that we breathe.
We have very recently identified four key genes in diatoms that we strongly believe encode enzymes that are involved in DMSP production. We now plan to study the exact functions of these genes and the enzymes that they encode by making mutants that no longer make DMSP and, conversely, by engineering strains that over-produce it. This will allow us, for the first time in any organism, to figure out with certainty what are the functions of this key molecule. We will also discover how the genes are expressed; are they switched on all the time, or do they respond to (for example) various stresses in the environment? Does this differ between different species? Not only will this provide new insights on the role(s) of DMSP in diatoms, but our results should shed light on the mechanisms that are involved in this process in other important marine organisms that make this key molecule. Such studies will only strengthen our ability to assess the effects of future environmental changes on this crucial biosynthetic process.

Planned Impact

This project is primarily driven by the need to address a fundamental gap in the knowledge of how "DMSP", the precursor molecule for the climatically active gas "DMS", is made and what is its role in the organisms that produce it. The field of research into biological DMS release is a well funded and publicised area of NERC-based research, exemplified in NERC's Summer 2009 edition of Planet Earth, as a special feature report entitled " Sea, cells, genes, smells, on the sea shore", highlighting this research. Indeed in this report the editor specifically choose to highlight the phrase "It is astonishing that we still do not know of a single gene for DMSP synthesis", clearly emphasising the potential impact of this proposal.

The "diatoms" being studied in this proposal are ubiquitous in the world's oceans, are literally the drivers of many of the Earth's most vital processes, and are also of significant interest to bioindustry. DMSP synthesis enzymes provide a novel set of genes that could provide stress (drought) tolerance to crop plants. Parallel studies have found genes for synthesizing the tertiary nitrogen analog to DMSP, glycine betaine, confers stress tolerance in Arapidopsis and overexpression of antioxidant enzymes have been used to improve salinity tolerance. DMSP is believed to be a multi-faceted anti-stress molecule providing osmoprotectant, cryoprotectant, and antioxidant properties. It therefore has great potential to enhance stress tolerance in crops. Importantly, Mock is also involved in work to overexpress genes from diverse diatoms involved in lipid metabolism in higher plants therefore is in a great position to translate discoveries from the proposed work towards development of new strains of transgenic crops.

As we have set out in the Pathway to Impact, there is clear evidence that the media - and indeed NERC - find our work to be interesting and, in some cases amusing and provocative. This was exemplified by the media kerfuffle that followed the publication of the Todd et al (2007) Science paper, with appearances on TV, both in the UK and in Germany, radio interviews and press reports throughout the world. This stemmed from the public interest in "Cloning the smell of the seaside" and in the influence of DMS on climate and animal behaviour. We regard this media attention as invaluable because it directly allows the public to see that their investment has outputs that although are not immediately to the financial advantage of UK PLC, do add to the bank of human knowledge in ways to which they can relate.

We have capitalised on this popularity in our Pathway to Impact that focuses on delivering the outcome and the conduct of this, and related work to our younger generation. Partly through the auspices of the SAW (Science Art Writing) scheme (http://www.sawtrust.org/), we will involve several local primary schools near UEA. Also, several of the past and planned events build on the "Beacon of Public Engagement" award "CueEast" (Community University Engagement East) to UEA and its partners. In addition, we will also target school students at 6th form level and key stages 3 and 4, our labs playing host to a few such selected, local 6th form students.

Finally, we will, of course, continue to disseminate our findings through the usual channels of publications, and will also strive to include other publications in journals that have a wider and less specialised audiences.

Publications

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Johnston AW (2016) Enzymatic breakage of dimethylsulfoniopropionate-a signature molecule for life at sea. in Current opinion in chemical biology

 
Description -We have shown that model diatoms synthesise the sulphur molecule dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP) and the nitrogenous molecule betaine as their major osmolytes.
-We have shown that the production of betaine and DMSP in model diatoms is regulated by salinity and nitrogen availability.
-We have carried out RNA sequencing experiments on model diatoms under conditions of varying salinity and nitrogen availability.
-From the RNA sequencing data we have identified candidate DMSP and betaine synthesis genes in model diatoms.
-We have overexpressed and ratified the key enzyme in betaine and DMSP synthesis (betaine synthase and methylthiohydroxybutryate methyltransferase, respectively) in E. coli. These enzymes have been biochemically characterised for their activity.
-We have localised the key enzyme in DMSP synthesis in diatoms using Immunolabeling.
-Identified DSYB (the key gene for DMSP synthesis) in the major DMSP-producing phytoplankton groups.
-Showed that DSYB gene transcription levels are reporters of an organisms intracellular DMSP levels.
Exploitation Route Our findings will:
-provide tools for the scientific community to assess the production of DMSP and betaine in natural environments.
-to study the variance in the key enzymes in the processes of DMSP and betaine production by diatoms in important natural environments.
-will allow modellers to adjust DMS production models based on our findings of conditions that affect DMSP production in key phytoplankton.
-Our developed methods will allow scientists to assay the key enzymes involved in DMSP and betaine production from biological samples.
Sectors Environment

 
Title Develped sensitive methods for the detection of betaine, DMSP and their synthesis intermediates from biological samples. 
Description We have developed biological sample preparation and liquid chromatography mass spectrometry methods that allow us to detect and quantify betaine, DMSP and their synthesis intermediates from biological samples. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The development of these methods has allowed us to quantify the activity of betaine and DMSP synthesis enzymes from biological samples something that was essential for our protects (e.g. NERC NE/J01138X/1). 
 
Description Crystallisation of enzymes involved in DMSP synthesis 
Organisation Shandong University
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaborating with Dr. Yu-Zhong Zhang (Shandong University, China) we have provided clones of the key enzymes involved in DMSP synthesis for further purification and crystallisation.
Collaborator Contribution Dr. Yu-Zhong Zhang (Shandong University, China) has purified and crystallised key enzymes involved in DMSP synthesis.
Impact As a result of this collaboration the structure of key enzymes involved in DMSP synthesis has been crystallised. This will be included in the forthcoming publications.
Start Year 2015
 
Description DMSP catabolism by important pelagic bacteria 
Organisation Oregon State University
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have identified novel DMSP catabolic genes in marine SAR11 bacteria. We have cloned, overexpressed and purified these enzymes and characterised their biochemical properties.
Collaborator Contribution Stephen Giovannoni at Oregon State University has grown SAR11 bacteria, characterised their DMSP catabolic phenotypes and has carried out detailed proteomics and bioinformatics studies
Impact This work is currently in review in Nature Journal. The study is multi-disciplinary involving microbiology, bioinformatics, biochemistry and molecular biology.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Microbial generation of dimethylsulphide that is independent of dimethylsulphoniopropionate 
Organisation University of Barcelona
Country Spain 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The visiting PhD student Ornella Carrion Fonseca identified a bacterium that produced dimethylsulphide (DMS) independent of dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP). Within my lab we characterised the novel pathway of DMS production and isolated the first gene involved in this process. We mutated the gene and studied its biochemistry and occurrence in other microbes. Elena Mercadé Gil (University of Barcelona) on DMSP-independent DMS production pathways
Collaborator Contribution Elena Mercadé Gil and Ornella Carrion Fonseca at The University of Barcelona isolated the bacterium from Antarctic sediment and carried out some localisation experiments, and gas chromatography mass spectrometry work.
Impact I obtained a full NERC grant based around these findings (NE/M004449/1) with Prof. Colin Murrell (CoI) and Dr Carrion Fonseca (Researcher/CoI). we currently working on reviews to a publication reporting this work in nature Communications. The work is multi-disciplinary involving microbiology, biogeochemistry, biochemistry, bioinformatics and physiology.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Microbial synthesis of dimethylsulphoniopropionate and dimethylsuphide (Prof. Xiao-Hua Zhang Ocean University, China) 
Organisation Ocean University of China
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaborating with Prof. Xiao-Hua Zhang (Ocean University, China) we are characterising the molecular genetic systems utilised by marine organisms in their catabolism and synthesis of dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP).
Collaborator Contribution Prof. Xiao-Hua Zhang (Ocean University, China) has isolated thousands of marine microbes and is screening them for their ability to produce and catabolise dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP). Any positive strains are shipped to UEA for molecular characterisation.
Impact There are no output as yet but a full NERC grant will be submitted on this subject in January 2015.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Subcellular localisation of DMSP and DMS-producing enzymes in eukaryotes and prokaryotes 
Organisation University of Barcelona
Country Spain 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaborating with Dr. Elena Mercade (University of Barcelona, Spain) we are growing eukaryotes and prokaryotes that produce DMSP and/or DMS and providing specific antibodies against the enzymes involved to localise them at a subcellular level.
Collaborator Contribution Dr. Elena Mercade (University of Bacelona, Spain) has prepared samples for immunogold labelling with the specific antibodies provided by us and used Transmission Electronic Microcoscopy to localise the enzymes involved in DMSP and/or DMS synthesis in the cells.
Impact The collaboration has successfully allowed the localisation of key enzymes involved in DMSP and/or DMS production in diatoms and bacteria. These results will be included in the forthcoming publications.
Start Year 2014
 
Description The importance of bacterial DMSP production in coral reef environments. 
Organisation Australian Government
Department Australian Institute of Marine Science
Country Australia 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We provide knowledge and expertise on bacterial DMSP production to enable an environmental microbiological study of the importance of bacteria in DMSP production in coral reefs. This involved us designing enrichment experiments for the isolation of DMSP-producing bacteria. We provided ratified gene probes and techniques to study the expression and abundance of key genes involved in DMSP production in environmental samples. Furthermore, we provided expertise in the analysis of metagenomic data generated from coral reef environmental samples.
Collaborator Contribution Dr David Bourne and Dr Jean-Baptiste Raina obtained samples from coral reefs and conducted experiments to study the importance of bacteria in DMSP production under the guidance of our group. This involved the isolation of high quality DNA and RNA which is being analysed for the abundance and diversity of bacterial DMSP synthesis genes. Dr Raina is localising DMSP in model phytoplankton for our project using nanoSIMS.
Impact None yet.
Start Year 2015
 
Description The importance of bacterial DMSP production in coral reef environments. 
Organisation University of Technology Sydney
Country Australia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We provide knowledge and expertise on bacterial DMSP production to enable an environmental microbiological study of the importance of bacteria in DMSP production in coral reefs. This involved us designing enrichment experiments for the isolation of DMSP-producing bacteria. We provided ratified gene probes and techniques to study the expression and abundance of key genes involved in DMSP production in environmental samples. Furthermore, we provided expertise in the analysis of metagenomic data generated from coral reef environmental samples.
Collaborator Contribution Dr David Bourne and Dr Jean-Baptiste Raina obtained samples from coral reefs and conducted experiments to study the importance of bacteria in DMSP production under the guidance of our group. This involved the isolation of high quality DNA and RNA which is being analysed for the abundance and diversity of bacterial DMSP synthesis genes. Dr Raina is localising DMSP in model phytoplankton for our project using nanoSIMS.
Impact None yet.
Start Year 2015
 
Description The production of betaine by marine phytoplankton (Dr Ruth Airs PML) 
Organisation Plymouth Marine Laboratory
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution During our NERC grant (NE/J01138X/1) we identified candidate genes involved in the synthesis of betaine. We have shown that model diatoms make betaine and that our candidate genes when cloned and expressed confer the ability to produce betaine and confer salt tolerance to Escherichia coli. In collaboration with Dr Ruth Airs we have established liquid chromatography mass spectrometry methods to detect betaine and dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP) from biological samples.
Collaborator Contribution Dr Ruth Airs at PML helped us to develop and establish liquid chromatography mass spectrometry methods to detect betaine and dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP) from biological samples.
Impact My postdoctoral researcher Research technicians on the NERC Grant (NE/J01138X/1) have presented our findings at the research conferences detailed below: -The Molecular Life of Diatoms, Paris, Dr Andrew Curson (Tues 25th June) -MMEG Molecular Microbial Ecology Group 2013, University of Essex, Ana Bermejo Martinez (Tues 17th Dec 2013) -6th International symposium on biological and environmental chemistry of DMS(P) and related compounds, ICM-CSIC, Barcelona, Ana Bermejo Martinez (26th - Fri 30th May 2014) As a result of this work we put together a NERC ENVEAST PhD proposal with Dr Todd as PI, and Dr Ruth Airs and Prof, Mock as CoIs. The work is multi-disciplinary as it involves phytoplankton physiology, biogeochemistry, microbiology, biochemistry, molecular genetics, molecular ecology and analytical biology.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Work into oxidation of methanethiol by marine organisms (Hendrik ?Schaefer, Warwick) 
Organisation University of Warwick
Department School of Life Sciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution My research team carried out microarray analysis on marine organisms that oxidise methanethiol (MeSH) looking at the catabolism of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP). These arrays showed that a gene encoding the MeSH oxidase was enhanced at the level of transcription by DMSP. We made transcriptional fusions to the mto gene and confirmed its induction by DMSP. We also isolated its divergently transcribed transcriptional regulator and showed that it controls the DMSP induction of the mto gene. We made a mutation in the mto gene in model marine organisms.
Collaborator Contribution Hendrik ?Schaefer isolated the MeSH oxidase and characterised its biochemical properties at the University of Warwick. He also has used molecular ecological techniques to study the variance of this gene in many environments.
Impact A pre-submission abstract was submitted to nature, but rejected. The project is multi-disciplinary involving, microbial ecology, molecular genetics and biochemistry.
Start Year 2012
 
Description 'DMSP production in marine bacteria and algae: idenitification of novel synthesis genes' research talk at Microbiology Society Annual Conference in Belfast April 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Research talk at Microbiology Society annual conference, presenting a summary of research work in Todd's lab.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description 'Marine Microbial DMSP Synthesis - from genes to microbes to pathways' at GEOMAR in Kiel, Germany in October 2018. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited research presentation at GEOMAR in Kiel Germany, presenting a summary of research work in Todd's lab.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description 'Marine Microbial DMSP Synthesis - from genes to microbes to pathways' at the Marine Microbes GRC 2018, Lucca, Italy, 1-6th July 2018. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited research talk at the Gordon Research Conference Marine Microbes conference, covering all research work from the Todd group.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description 'Surface marine sediments are factories for DMSP and the climate active gas DMS' at the ASM Microbe meeting, June 2019, San Francisco. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited reesearch presnetation at ASM conference in San Francisco, summarising the reseacrh from Todd's lab.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Annual hosting of Nuffield studentships (2012-current). We host an annual Nuffield student 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact As part of the Nuffield Scholarship program I annually hosted a student for a 6 week project within my lab. The details of the students and their projects are detailed below:

-In 2012, I hosted Angeline Maher of Thorpe St Andrew College for a 6 week project that involved the isolation of DMSP catabolising bacteria from marine algae.
-In 2013, I hosted Chris Babey from Wymondham College who characterised the key enzyme in DMSP sythesis in environmental isolates of the macroalga Ulva intestinalis.
-In 2014 I hosted Jenna Louise Hatch for a project involving the isolation and characterisation of microbes catabolising dimetheylsulphide.

The students generated useful data that was incorporated into our on-going research on NERC NERC NE/J01138X/1.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2013,2014,2015,2016
 
Description Annual school pupil summer internships (2012-2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact To allow potential young scientists and/or science communicators to develop their skills, NERC has funded me to run two complementary 6-week work placements for local 6th form students over the summer vacation, for each year of my NERC grant (NE/J01138X/1). On July 9th 2012, I delivered an outreach talk to the students taking A-level science at East Norfolk Sixth Form College (the college I attended many years ago) and introduced them to the summer projects on offer in my lab. As it transpired, I actually hosted three students from East Norfolk in the Summer of 2012 (Jordan Newton, Daniel Thistlethwaite and Rebecca Smedley). In 2013, I hosted Charlotte Grimmer and Simon Parsons (returned again in the summer of 2014), both from Great Yarmouth College and who are now doing Foundation Science here at UEA this year. In 2015, I hosted Logan Sewell and in 2016, Peter Odogwu, both from East Norfolk Sixth Form College. All the students found the experience extremely useful and gave talks summarising their experiences and findings to their respective colleges.

-Jordan Newton set about designing a lab website for my research group that has been further developed by Ana Bermejo Martinez the research technician on NE/J01138X/1.
-All the visiting students learnt a great deal about microbiology, molecular biology and genetics, dimethylsuphide and dimethylsulponiopropionate generation and catabolism.
-All the visiting students have gone onto biological science degrees at UEA.
-All the visiting students gave talks summarising their experiences to their ye
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2013,2014,2015,2016
 
Description Convenor of the biogeochemical cycling and climate session and talking at ISME 2018, Leipzig 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited convenor of the biogeochemical cycling and climate session and presenter of research encompassing all my DMS/P related grants.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Five research talks presented at 6th International symposium on biological and environmental chemistry of DMS(P) and related compounds (or DMSP symposium, for short!), Mon 26th - Fri 30th May 2014, ICM-CSIC, Barcelona 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Invited Oral presentations were given by:
-Dr Todd (PI on NE/J01138X/1)
-Dr Curson (PDRA on NE/J01138X/1)
-Ana Bermejo Martinez (Research technician on NE/J01138X/1)
-Dr Bobbie Lyon (associated with NE/J01138X/1)
-Prof. AWB Johnston (present much of Todd and Curson's work)


-The talks provided a summary of the work carried out on the NERC grant NE/J01138X/1.

-Conversations with Dr Ruth Airs (PML) sparked a collaboration in the production and detection of betaine by model phytoplankton and by natural environments.

-A NERC ENVEAST proposal was born out of conversations with Dr Ruth Airs at PML which was advertised in November 2014.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.dmspsymposium.com/
 
Description Invited Oral presentation at Microbiology Society Annual meeting, April 2017, Edinburgh. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited speaker at the Microbiology Society Annual meeting, April 2017, Edinburgh. Here I presented findings from all my grants related to DMS/P research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Invited oral presentation at the 5th International Symposium on Microbial Sulfur Metabolism, April 2018, Vienna 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited speaker at the 5th International Symposium on Microbial Sulfur Metabolism, April 2018, Vienna. Here I will overview all major outcomes from my grants concerning DMS/P research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Invited oral presentation at the MMEG Molecular Microbial Ecology Group meeting 2013 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Ana Bermejo Martinez (Research technician on NERC NE/J01138X/1) presented our work on the synthesis on betaine and DMSP by model phytoplankton.

Ana's talk stimulated much conversation notably to Dr Yin Chen at the University of Warwick.

As a result of discussions with Dr Chen, Ana Bermejo Martinez and Dr Todd attended a workshop in 2014 at PML designed to stimulate a large NERC grant on the production and catabolism of dissolved organic nitrogen compounds. Dr Ruth Air (PML) also attended this workshop facilitating our putting together of a NERC ENVEAST PhD proposal. This proposal was advertised in November 2014.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Invited presentation at the ASM Microbe meeting, June 2017, New Orleans. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited presentation at the ASM Microbe meeting, June 2017, New Orleans. Here I presented the major outcomes from all my research grants related to DMS/P
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Invited seminar in March 2013 at the Scottish Association for Marine Science, Oban. "The synthesis and catabolism of DMSP - what do we know?" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact -I gave an invited seminar in March 2013 at the Scottish Association for Marine Science, Oban. "The synthesis and catabolism of DMSP - what do we know?".
-In this presentation I summarised the findings of our work into DMSP synthesis on the NERC grant NERC NE/J01138X/1.
-As a result of the talk I had discussions about collaboration with Prof. Hatton and Dr Green at Oba.

I have started a collaboration with Prof. Hatton and Dr Green whereby we agreed that I would host one of their PhD students in my lab at UEA and teach them the molecular techniques that we use to study DMSP catabolism and synthesis.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Marine Microbes GRC 2018, Lucca, Italy, 1-6th July 2018. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited presenter at the prodigious Gordon Research Conference on Marine Microbiology.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Oral Presentation at the C1 Symposium, UEA, May 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dr Jonathan Todd presented a talk entitled 'The making and breaking of DMSP' at the C1 Symposium at UEA in May 2016. This was an international meeting to discuss the latest advances in research on one-carbon compounds.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Oral Presentation at the European Nitrogen Conference at UEA in September 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dr Jonathan Todd talked about the 'Novel insights into microbial production of dimethylsulfoniopropiontate (DMSP)' at the European Nitrogen Conference at UEA. The talk generated a useful discussion about the latest findings on microbial production of DMSP in relation to nitrogen cycling.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Oral presentation Applied & Environmental Microbiology Gordon Conference (Massachusetts) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Dr. Todd gave the invited oral presentation "Novel insights into microbial production of DMSP and DMS" at the Applied & Environmental Microbiology held in Boston (USA), July 2015.
The talk stimulated conversation with Dr. David Bourne from the Australian Institute of Marine Science, that ultimately led to collaborative work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.grc.org/programs.aspx?id=10899
 
Description Oral presentation MMEG 2014 (Bangor) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Ornella Carrion Fonseca (Senior Research Associate on NERC NE/M004449/1) presented our work on the novel pathway of DMS production independent of DMSP at the Molecular Microbial Ecology Group meeting.
The talk raised an interesting debate about how significant can be the contribution of terrestrial environments to the global DMS emissions compared to marine environments.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://mmeg-2014.bangor.ac.uk/programme.php.en
 
Description Oral presentation at the 1st UEA-China Ocean University joint Conference at the Institute of Oceanography of the China Academy of Sciences, March 2013 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Dr Todd gave the invited oral presentation "The multifaceted environmental effects of DMSP and its catabolites - a study of genes, genomes and metagenomes" at the1st UEA-China Ocean University joint Conference at the Institute of Oceanography of the China Academy of Sciences, March 2013.

This summarised the Todd groups' research on both DMSP catabolism and its synthesis (on NERC NE/J01138X/1).

The talk stimulated conversation with Professor Zhang at OUC, China that ultimately led to collaborative work.

I entered into a collaboration with Prof. Zhang at OUC, China. We decided to screen her microbial isolates for those with the ability to catabolise DMS and synthesise the sulphur containing molecule.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Oral presentation at the Ocean University of China (China) 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Dr Todd gave the invited oral presentation "Novel insights into microbial production of DMSP and DMS" at the International Marine Microbiology Conference, Ocean University of China, Qingdao, China, May 2015.
The talk stimulated further collaboration with Professor Zhang from OUC and Professor Yu-Zhong Zhang and from Shandong University.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Summer intership 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The summer students Leanne Sims (UEA) and Heather Mellor (UEA) spent eight weeks each in Todd's lab working on projects related to DMSP and DMS production in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. This were funded as part of our outreach components of our NERC grants.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Three research talks presented at "The Molecular Life of Diatoms", Paris, 25th - 28th June 2013 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Research talks were given by:
-Prof. Mock (CoI on NE/J01138X/1)
-Dr Jan Strauss (Research technician on NE/J01138X/1)
-Dr Andy Curson (PDRA on NE/J01138X/1)

The talks summarised our latest work on NE/J01138X/1 and stimulated much conversation amongst the diatom community.

Our group learned about the most up to date molecular genetic techniques which we are applying to work on NE/J01138X/1.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description UEA press release 'Tiny organisms have huge effect on world's atmosphere' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Press release summarising our key Nature Microbiology paper that identified that the most abundant bacteria on the planet, the SAR11 group, produce dimethyl sulfide from the degradation of dimethylsulfoniopropionate.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.uea.ac.uk/about/-/tiny-organisms-have-huge-effect-on-world-s-atmosphere