Kim is currently carrying out research at the Marine Biological Association UK for her PhD, entitled: The marine microbial biogeochemistry of carbon monoxide – connecting biodiversity with ecosystem function. Her PhD is funded through the NERC EnvEast DTP supervised by Dr Michael Cunliffe (MBA), and Professor Colin Murrell and Dr Parvadha Suntharalingam at the University of East Anglia.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced in seawater by the photo-degradation of dissolved organic matter. Global estimates of CO production in the oceans are between 30-70 Tg per year, up to 90% of which is removed by bacterioplankton oxidation. CO oxidation may be a key component of the photo-chemically mediated marine carbon cycle and play an important role in bacterial metabolism. Currently very little is known about CO-oxidising marine bacterioplankton, how they regulate CO oxidation and how microbial CO oxidation fits into the wider carbon cycle.
Her research focus is to develop a better understanding of the marine CO sink using a combination of laboratory experiments and field surveys. She aims to: characterise the microbial diversity of marine CO-oxidisers from coast to open ocean; understand the underlying eco-physical mechanisms of microbial CO-oxidation; to develop a microbially-relevant CO biogeochemistry model.