Microbiology graduate student Quinn Washburn developed a board game called Oligotrophic designed to help students understand the microbial ecology of the oceans and movement of biomass. Marine microbes live extraordinary lives of their own, albeit ones fraught with danger and opportunity.


Postdoc Jimmy Saw, has accepted a position at George Washington University, Department of Biological Sciences as an Assistant Professor.  We will truly miss him but wish him the best! His research project focused on understanding the interaction of SAR11 bacterial clade with dissolved organic matter (DOM) in the ocean. He analyzed the evolutionary ‘hotspots’ within the genomes of divergent SAR11 strains in the ocean to understand how these genomic regions played a role in shaping their metabolic capabilities and ultimately on how they broke down. 


Distinguished Professor Dr. Stephen Giovannoni and his team reported ground-breaking research that could have an impact on global warming. They discovered that Pelagibacter, the most abundant plankton in the oceans, are programmed to make two sulfur gases that can enter the atmosphere and influence cloud formation. More about this research can be found in the following articles: Nature Microbiology, “The abundant marine bacterium Pelagibacter simultaneously catabolizes dimethylsulfoniopropionate to the gases dimethyl sulfide and methanethiol” ----Christian Science Monitor, “How an Itty-Bitty Ocean-Dwelling Bacteria Helps Regulate our Climate" ---- World Tech Today, “Could this ocean bacteria be our answer to global warming?” ---- Market Business News, "Microscopic organisms Pelagibacterales may solve our global warming problem". Science World Report: "Tiny ocean organism may help regulate Earth's climate." Independent: "How the sea gets its smell--and why it's important." Climate News Network Science Pierces Riddle of Why Clouds Form.


What is the commonest living thing on Earth? Until now, those in the know would probably have answered Pelagibacter ubique, the most successful member of a group of bacteria, called SAR11, that jointly constitute about a third of the single-celled organisms in the ocean. But this is not P. ubique’s only claim to fame, for unlike almost every other known cellular creature, it and its relatives have seemed to be untroubled by viruses.

Even in this time of 7 billion human inhabitants, there are still frontiers being explored on Earth. One frontier is Earth’s deepest depths, which scientists are probing for signs of life. In late 2010, microbiologist Stephen Giovannoni and his research team discovered bacterial life deeper in the Earth’s crust than ever before, 1.4 kilometers below the sea floor in the North Atlantic. This discovery might have implications for life on other planets, such as Mars.


No one knew the Antarctic bacteria existed until they were found by a team of experts led by Stephen Giovannoni, associate professor of microbiology at America's Oregon State University.




Have a look at some of these beautiful and informative ocean photos from our last research cruise.