The common research theme in my lab is the measurement of gene expression as a means to understanding microbially-mediated processes in the oceans. This is divided into specific areas of research that include lysogeny, phytoplankton carbon fixation, and development of sensors. Lysogeny is the process whereby a virus establishes a stable symbiosis in its host. We are examining the genomes of temperate marine bacteriophages to understand the control of lysogeny in heterotrophic bacteria and picocyanobacteria in the marine environment. Our studies in carbon fixation have focused on the control of this process in oceanic river plumes. Such plumes have tremendous CO2 drawdown, yet also behave as areas of high levels of recycled production. We are using our experience in measuring mRNA as a surrogate for microbial gene expression in the design of hand-held and autonomous sensors (in conjunction with the Center for Ocean Technology) for the detection of noxious microorganisms in coastal environments.
The three major research areas of the lab are Viromics, Regulation of Carbon Fixation, and Sensor Research. Click the links below or in the navigation bar to read more about these topics.