Microbiology & Microbial Ecology



Craig Taylor, John Waterbury, Stefan Sievert

Microbial studies encompass the distribution, abundance, physiological status, and growth rates of these organisms as well as their symbiotic interactions, population diversity and dynamics, and biochemical adaptations. Molecular biological methods are increasingly applied to these areas of research. Other marine microbial studies include food-chain dynamics, production of bioactive compounds such as toxins and extracellular enzymes, and speciation and phylogeny. Some of the current research areas in microbiology include:

Microbial processes at hydrothermal vents

Bacterial chemosynthesis is the base of the food chain for the hydrothermal vent biota. The laboratory of Carl Wirsen and Stefan Sievert investigates the diversity of aerobic sulfide oxidizing bacteria and anaerobic, hyperthermophilic, sulfur reducing archaea, as well as their physiology, ecology and biotechnological applications.

Growth kinetics of oligotrophic marine bacteria

The bacterial turnover of dissolved organic matter in the world oceans is pivotal for the global carbon budget. A pressurized chemostat is used in the laboratory of Carl Wirsen and Stefan Sievert to measure metabolic activities of bacterial isolates that are adapted to high pressure, low temperature and low concentrations of organic substrates.

Characterization of the iron (Fe) scavenging systems employed by oligotrophic marine cyanobacteria.

In many oceanic regimes where Fe is thought to limit primary productivity, cyanobacteria are significant constituents of the phytoplankton community. Using genomic, proteomic, and genetic techniques work in the laboratory of Eric Webb is aimed at defining the mechanism employed by these cyanobacteria that allow them to thrive in Fe depleted regimes.