Colleen Durkin


Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

7700 Sandholdt Road

Moss Landing, CA 95039

Phone: (831) 775-2102

Fax: (831) 775-1620

email: cdurkin

My research focuses on the ecology of carbon export from the surface ocean into the deep sea.  Our lab seeks to answer three big questions:

1) What controls the export of surface phytoplankton production?

2) How do deep ocean ecosystems transform sinking particles, either enhancing or attenuating carbon flux?

3) How can advanced instrumentation be used to make detailed biological observations of carbon export at regional and global scales?

Production by phytoplankton in the surface ocean, and the eventual export of this carbon, is a key component of the global carbon cycle but is difficult to monitor, quantify, and predict.  These difficulties stem, in part, from the complex ecological interactions involved in generating and transporting sinking carbon.  My research seeks to resolve these microscopic (and often times beautiful) interactions and the organisms involved and integrated them into our quantitative understanding of the ocean’s carbon cycle.  This research is by its very nature interdisciplinary and we incorporate cell biology, molecular genetics, microscopy, automated image analysis, biogeochemistry, machine learning, and engineering to answer these questions.

Professional Experience

2015-2021 Research Faculty, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories

2012-2015 Postdoctoral Scholar, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

2012 PhD, University of Washington, Oceanography

2008 M.S., University of Washington, Oceanography

2004 B.S., University of Washington, Biology and Oceanography