New research sheds light on early mechanisms driving diatom bloom formation

Scientists describe a new role for calcium ion signalling in eukaryotes, for phosphate sensing, for the first time.

MBA researchers Katherine Helliwell, Glen Wheeler and Colin Brownlee in collaboration with scientists at Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) and the University of Warwick have shed light on how diatoms (a type of eukaryotic algae) sense the availability of phosphorus, a vital macronutrient which controls diatom growth and productivity in the oceans. The research, which has been published in the journal Current Biology [1], demonstrated a new role for calcium ion (Ca2+) signalling in eukaryotes, for phosphate sensing, which has not previously been described.