The ocean is home to a huge diversity of life that perform a wide range of functions key to earth systems. Marine algae communities contribute a significant proportion of net carbon fixation of the globe as well as forming the basis of the food webs for every trophic level above their own. Despite their importance, many of the taxa that make up these microalgal communities are relatively unknown and understudied, due to their recalcitrance to lab culturing. This concept is known as microbial dark matter and applies in particular to many non-photosynthetic lineages which have been long overlooked by the research community. To investigate whether dependencies of these taxa on certain B vitamins may play a role in this unculturability, data sets produced form the Tara oceans expedition will be analysed. The Stramenopile lineage will be analysed in greater detail for their metabolic potential to synthesise the B vitamins, and/or whether they may dependent on an external source. Both Single-Amplified Genomes (SAG) and metatrascriptomic data sets will be analysed to determine the complement of genes present in different Stramenopile lineages. This will then be correlated with the global distribution data attainable from analysing Tara data sets. By this means, we hope to understand more about the metabolic contribution of this taxonomic group to the community, how this supports the community as a whole and whether dependence on B vitamins is a contributing factor to unculturability.

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