Welcome to SASM!

Welcome to the homepage of SASM, the "Society Against the Simplification of Microbes". We are a group of people bound by a very simple common belief: We object against treating microbes (e.g. bacteria, phytoplankton, etc.) in a simplified manner. This includes treating them as if they are particles or chemical molecules. Statements like "phytoplankton react with nutrients to make more phytoplankton" are not acceptable. Microbes are complicated things with intracellular properties and behaviour that gives rise to complex system dynamics. This should be clearly acknowledged in our measurements and models.


ASLO 2010 Session: I am an Individual, Stop Treating Me Like Everyone Else! – Observation and Modeling of Diversity Within Plankton Populations

Abstract: Phytoplankton populations have traditionally been viewed as homogeneous collections of identical individuals. This is reflected in our analytical approach: phytoplankton biomass is grouped into size classes, and filtered cells are aggregated for measurements of chlorophyll, element content (e.g. C/N/P, trace metals) and biochemical composition and activity. Our models have also been consistent with this view. Phytoplankton are described using population-level parameters (e.g. mg C/L) using differential equations (e.g. dC/dt = growth, death, etc.). Growth has been considered to be a chemical reaction between a “phytoplankton molecule’” and a nutrient molecule to make more phytoplankton molecules. However, advances in single-cell analytical techniques, like flow cytometry, x-ray fluorescence microprobes, and single-cell genomics, now allow for the characterization of heterogeneity within populations. At the same time, individual/agent-based models allow for this heterogeneity to be simulated. These new techniques allow for the characterization and understanding of heterogeneity in phytoplankton populations, and they raise many new questions. How much heterogeneity is there in cellular properties? What is the cause (e.g. different life history, imperfect division) of heterogeneity? What are the biogeochemical implications of this heterogeneity? This session encourages papers that focus on any aspect of heterogeneity within plankton populations, including both observational and modeling papers.

Call for abstracts:

Abstract Submittal Deadline = 12 February 2010.


President: Ferdi Hellweger,, (917) 238-3010

Secretary: vacant

Treasurer: Ben Twining


Microbial Subjects (*updated* 8/4/2010)

Membership - Join Us!

Membership is voluntary and free. If you would like to join, please send your name via email to the president (contact info above). You may then feel free to display the following SASM logo on your personal web page.