Molecular Environmental Science

Molecule Hunters

Organic matter in the marine environment

More than three-quarters of dissolved organic matter in the ocean is found at depths greater than 1000 m. This dissolved organic matter can serve as a carbon and energy source for marine microorganisms. Conversely, the marine microorganisms may release dissolved organic matter. The interplay between these two processes is complex. We have been working at multiple sites in the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean to consider the impact of chemical and biological processes on organic matter in the marine environment. 

Collectively, the Kujawinski lab data from these cruises will be integrated with the data from our collaborators to provide a biological context on the factors controlling variability in the organic compounds found in marine environments.

For one example of what it is like to conduct research at sea, check out the blog developed by graduate students and postdocs during the 2013 cruise on the R/V Knorr ( 

Most recently, we have been working as part of the BIOS-SCOPE project. You can check our new website here:

This collaborative project involves scientists from the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), University of California - Santa Barbara, Oregon State University, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the University of Exeter in England. Collaboratively, we seek to understand what chemical compounds microbial communities produce, transform and leave behind, including through community interactions with viruses and zooplankton. The field component of this reseach takes place off Bermuda, while our laboratory analyses will be done at the WHOI FT-MS facility.

Kujawinski Lab members: Krista Longnecker, Winn Johnson, Catherine Carmichael (past), and Gretchen Swarr

Collaborators: Numerous participants from cruises on the Knorr, Atlantic Explorer, Endeavor, and Thompson.

Last updated: February 21, 2017