Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Biology Dept.


Nick Record

Second Advisor

Cathy Bevier

Third Advisor

Jim Scott


The world’s oceans provide the basis for life on the planet. One microscopic algae, the coccolithophores, and Emiliania huxleyi in particular, is a major source of carbon drawdown in the context of the global carbon cycle and account for a significant amount of the primary production in oceanic ecosystems. We know that the oceans are packed with marine viruses and they have an important role in the rise and fall of plankton populations but current mathematical models do not accurately account for virus-host interactions when predicting plankton blooms. Therefore I am using model optimization and comparison techniques to evaluate current models and reassess how the virus-host system should be described. Analysis of in situ blooms and mesocosm data has revealed previously unreported trends occurring over the course of an E. huxleyi bloom. Inclusion of virus-host interactions in models describing the calcifying coccolithophore E. huxleyi may give insight into global carbon cycling, as large-scale blooms are known to draw down significant amounts of atmospheric carbon.



This research project has been further developed and published on 11 February 2017 as:

Middleton, J. E., Martínez Martínez, J., Wilson, W. H. and Record, N. R. (2017), Functional dynamics of Emiliania huxleyi virus-host interactions across multiple spatial scales. Limnology and Oceanography.
doi: 10.1002/lno.10476

Publisher's link:


Mathematical modeling, Emiliania huxleyi, carbon cycling, virus-host dynamics