Physiological diversity and niche adaptation in marine Synechococcus

Adv Microb Physiol. 2003;47:1-64. doi: 10.1016/s0065-2911(03)47001-x.


During the twenty years or so since the discovery of tiny photosynthetic cells of the genus Synechococcus in marine oceanic systems, a tremendous expansion of interest has been seen in the literature pertaining to these organisms. The fact that they are ubiquitous and abundant in major oceanic regimes underlies their ecological importance as significant contributors to marine C fixation. Recent advances in the physiology and biochemistry of these organisms are presented here, focusing on strains of the MC-A and MC-B clusters; it is stressed that the data contained herein should be put into the context of the ecological niche occupied by particular genotypes in situ. This system is ripe for joining the often separate disciplines of molecular ecology and microbial physiology and provides a great opportunity to tease out the underlying processes that both mediate organism evolution and also the environmental factors that dictate this.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carbon / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle / physiology*
  • Cyanobacteria / genetics
  • Cyanobacteria / metabolism
  • Cyanobacteria / physiology*
  • Ecosystem
  • Nitrogen / metabolism
  • Phosphorus / metabolism
  • Photosynthesis / physiology
  • Phylogeny
  • Ribulose-Bisphosphate Carboxylase / metabolism
  • Water Microbiology*


  • Phosphorus
  • Carbon
  • Ribulose-Bisphosphate Carboxylase
  • Nitrogen