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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton
(023) 8059 6446

Professor Thomas Bibby PhD

Professor of Biological Oceanography

Professor Thomas Bibby's photo

Thomas Bibby is Professor of Biological Oceanography within Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton at the University of Southampton.

Nature has set herself the task of capturing the light flooding toward the earth and storing this, the most elusive of all forces….to which the very existence of the human race is inescapably bound Julius Robert Mayer, 1845


Research interests

There are two distinct but linked themes within my research group:

(1) The role of photosynthetic microbes in global biogeochemical cycles
(2) The development of photosynthetic microbes for biotechnology


Key questions in my research are:

1. What is the role of photosynthetic microbes in dictating past, present and future earth climate?

2. What is the capacity of photosynthetic microbes to evolve to future ocean scenarios?

3. What dictates the efficiency of the flow of energy from light to biomass through the marine ecosystem?

4. Can the physiological state of photosynthetic microbes be detected from satellite?

5. How can ‘omic’ datasets from environmental samples be integrated with Earth System models to improve predictions of the Earth’s future climate?

6. In collaboration with the commercial sector: How can novel methods be used to harness the metabolic potential of photosynthetic microbes for biotechnological applications (fuels, pharmaceuticals, nutrichemicals)?

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Research Projects

  • The ecophysiological basis for co-variability in light-limited and saturated rates of phytoplankton photosynthesis.
  • SONIC: Shortcuts in the Oceanic Nitrogen Cycle: Fluxes and Microbial Pathways of Nitrogen Remineralization in the Ocean's Twilight Zone
  • High Resolution Mass Spectrometer to support Proteomic Research across the Southern 4 Proteomic Consortium
  • Physical and chemical forcing of diazotrophy in the (sub)-tropical Atlantic Ocean
  • Seasonal and inter-annual monitoring of the phytoplankton physiology and productivity at the Bermuda Atlantic Time Series (BATS)
  • Carbon Uptake and Seasonal Traits in Antarctic Remineralisation Depth (CUSTARD)

Environmental Sequencing Facility

Research group

Marine Biogeochemistry

Affiliate research groups

Institute for Life Sciences (IfLS), Clean Carbon, Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI)

Research project(s)

SONIC – Shortcut in the Oceanic NItrogen Cycle

Marine Algal Biofuel

Processes Regulating Iron Supply at the Mesoscale in the Ross Sea (PRISM-RS)

Plug and Play Photosynthesis for RuBisCO Independent Fuels

Quantifying Protein Catalysts in Marine Systems

Single Turnover Active Fluorescence of Enclosed Samples for Aquatic Primary Productivity (STAFES-APP)

Tapping the Unused Potential of Photosynthesis

Director of the MSc in Oceanography

Director of the Next Generation Environmental Sequencing Facility (RCUK-recognised facility)

Member of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) peer review panel

Head of Environmental Sequencing Facility

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Book Chapter


Coordinator for:

SOES6013 Introduction to Biological Oceanography
SOES3018 Applied oceanography and fieldwork
SOES6039 MSc Research Project

Teaching on:

SOES2006 Phytoplankton and primary production

Professor Thomas Bibby
Ocean and Earth Science
National Oceanography Centre Southampton
University of Southampton Waterfront Campus
European Way
Southampton SO14 3ZH

Room Number NNN: NOCS/456/18

Professor Thomas Bibby's personal home page
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