Past Research

Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE)

cmore_worlds_name_1000pxRESEARCH TEAM: C-MORE Investigators
PROJECT DATES: 2006 – 2016
PROJECT SUMMARY: C-MORE is a Science and Technology Center, established in 2006, that aims to achieve a comprehensive understanding of marine microbes and microbial pathways in marine systems and their contribution to global nutrient cycles and energy fluxes. C-MORE is based at the University of Hawaii with partners dispersed among the following institutions: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, University of California at Santa Cruz, Oregon State University and Columbia University. C-MORE research in the Church lab includes research targeting microorganisms that catalyze specific pathways in carbon and nitrogen cycling the marine environment. Click here if you want to find out more about C-MORE. Funding source: NSF.


Dimensions: Oligotrophic phytoplankton community response to changes in N substrates and the resulting impact on genetic, taxonomic and functional diversity

BIODIMENSIONRESEARCH TEAM: J. Zehr & Z. Kolber (UCSC), K. Arrigo & M. Mills (Stanford), M. Church (UH)
PROJECT DATES: 2013-2016
PROJECT SUMMARY: The overarching goal of this collaborative project is to investigate how different forms of nitrogen affect the metabolic and ecological interactions of different groups of phytoplankton in the oligotrophic open ocean. The project relies on cultivation-independent approaches to quantify the physiological and compositional responses of different members of the phytoplankton assemblage to different sources of nitrogen. By coupling transcriptomic and physiological analyses on the responses of phytoplankton communities to the availability of nitrate, ammonium, and urea, we seek to improve predictive understanding of how changes in the availability of key nutrient pools may impact phytoplankton dynamics in the open sea. Funding source: NSF.



DSC00738RESEARCH TEAM: C. Smith, J. Drazen, E. Vetter & M. Church (UH) and 7 national and international collaborators
PROJECT DATES: 2013 – 2018
PROJECT SUMMARY: As part of the international and multidisciplinary ABYSSLINE team, members of the Church Lab oversee baseline studies on the diversity and community structure of benthic and water column microorganisms in the eastern Clarion-Clipperton fracture zone (CCZ). Funding source: UKSRL.


C-MORE Summer Course “Microbial Oceanography: Genomes to Biomes”

Summer_course_2014RESEARCH TEAM: D. Karl, M. Church, E. DeLong, & G. Steward (all UH)
PROJECT DATES: 2006-2016
PROJECT SUMMARY: Since 2006, this 5-week summer course on microbial oceanography has been hosted by the Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education and is based at the University of Hawai’i. The course is offered to graduate students and postdoctoral researchers and includes participation by leading experts in the field of microbial oceanography. The summer course explores the crucial role marine microbes play in shaping global ocean biogeochemistry. For more information please visit the C-MORE summer course webpage. Funding sources: Agouron Institute and NSF.


Hawaii Ocean Time-series (HOT)

HOTRESEARCH TEAM: M. Church (PI), R. Bidigare, D. Karl, R. Lukas (co-PIs). Collaborators: J. Dore, M. Landry, R. Letelier, A. Plueddemann, R. Weller
PROJECT DATES: 2013 – 2018
PROJECT SUMMARY: Since 1988, the Hawaii Ocean Time-series (HOT) program has sought to evaluate temporal variability in hydrographical, biological and chemical properties and processes at Station ALOHA (A Long-Term Oligotrophic Habitat Assessment; 22° 45’N, 158° 00’W) located 100 km north of Oahu, Hawaii. The objective of this research is to provide a comprehensive description of the ocean at a site representative of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. Our lab actively participates in HOT program research, with much of our work focused on studying temporal dynamics in the population structure and biogeochemistry of marine microorganisms at Station ALOHA. For more information, please visit the HOT homepage. Funding source: NSF.


Oceanic Diazotroph Community Structure and Activities in a High Carbon Dioxide World

PROJECT DATES: 2009 – 2012
PROJECT SUMMARY: The combustion of fossil fuels continues to alter atmospheric and oceanic CO2 inventories. A large fraction of this fossil fuel derived CO2 enters the surface ocean, altering the seawater carbonate system. This project examined how marine nitrogen fixing bacteria, referred as diazotrophs, respond to changes in seawater pCO2. In a series of CO2 perturbation experiments, we explored the short-term response of diazotrophs to abrupt changes in the partial pressure of CO2 in seawater at Station ALOHA in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. Funding source: NSF.


Collaborative Biology and Ecology of Newly Discovered Diazotrophs in the Open Ocean

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS: J. Zehr (UCSC), J. Montoya (Georgia Tech), M. Church (UH)
PROJECT DATES: 2004 – 2007
PROJECT SUMMARY: This project examined the temporal dynamics of diazotrophic assemblages in the upper ocean at Station ALOHA (22°45′ N 158° W) in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (NPSG). By combining measurements of dinitrogen (N2) fixation with molecular‐based techniques, the time‐dependent variability in the dynamics of N2 fixing microorganisms in the NPSG was assessed. Funding source: NSF.