Microscopic biology research

Some of our scientists focus on microscopic algae, animals, and microbes that live in the open ocean.

Targeted metagenomics

There are still many uncultured marine protists – including within the pico-size fraction. An approach developed in the lab that has generated new discoveries on their evolution and ecology has been sequence partial genomes from cells taken directly from the environment.

Microbe-algae interactions

Although we know that bacteria attach to algae (even to picophytoplankton), the relationship between these organisms has not yet been characterized despite its potential influence on population dynamics and biogeochemical cycles.

Microbial predators

Tremendous diversity of marine protists has been revealed based on environmental SSU rDNA gene sequencing. Many of these are novel, not yet cultured, and have unknown functional roles.

Population dynamics of phytoplankton

To thoroughly understand food webs, it is essential to study the tiniest of marine primary producers. These picoeukaryotes also shed light on the evolution of higher plants.

Molecular systematics

Worldwide expeditions led by Bob Vrijenhoek and his colleagues have resulted in the discovery of many new species of deep-sea crabs, clams, mussels, snails, tubeworms and bacteria. Understanding the evolutionary relationships among deep-sea species and placing them in the tree-of-life has been a major goal of research efforts.

Sampling and identifying marine zooplankton

Sampling and identifying marine zooplankton (SIMZ) is a project aimed at advancing our understanding of plankton ecology. SIMZ uses autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) to collect samples of zooplankton and molecular genetic techniques to assess their diversity and abundance.


Upper-ocean systems
Acoustical ocean ecology
Acoustic instruments
Acoustic fingerprinting
Acoustic community ecology
Acoustics in the news
Marine biogeochemistry
Ocean carbon export
Technology development
Coastal carbon cycling and ocean acidification
Carbon cycle feedbacks
Western boundary current carbon cycling
Lab news
Biological oceanography
Global modes of sea surface temperature
Krill hotspots in the California Current
Nitrate supply estimates in upwelling systems
Chemical sensors
Chemical data
Land/Ocean Biogeochemical Observatory in Elkhorn Slough
Listing of floats
SOCCOM float visualization
Periodic table of elements in the ocean
Biogeochemical-Argo Report
Profiling float
Marine microbes
Population dynamics of phytoplankton
Microbial predators
Microbe-algae interactions
Targeted metagenomics
In the news
Upcoming events and lab news
Past talks and presentations
Join the lab
Interdisciplinary field experiments
Ecogenomic Sensing
Genomic sensors
Field experiments
Harmful algal blooms (HABs)
Water quality
Environmental Sample Processor (ESP)
ESP Web Portal
In the news
Ocean observing system
Midwater research
Midwater ecology
Deep-sea squids and octopuses
Food web dynamics
Midwater time series
Respiration studies
Zooplankton biodiversity
Seafloor processes
Revealing the secrets of Sur Ridge
Exploring Sur Ridge’s coral gardens
Life at Sur Ridge
Mapping Sur Ridge
Biology and ecology
Effects of humans
Ocean acidification, warming, deoxygenation
Lost shipping container study
Effects of upwelling
Faunal patterns
Previous research
Technology development
High-CO2 / low-pH ocean
Benthic respirometer system
Climate change in extreme environments
Station M: A long-term observatory on the abyssal seafloor
Station M long-term time series
Monitoring instrumentation suite
Sargasso Sea research
Antarctic research
Geological changes
Arctic Shelf Edge
Continental Margins and Canyon Dynamics
Coordinated Canyon Experiment
CCE instruments
CCE repeat mapping data
Monterey Canyon: A Grand Canyon beneath the waves
Submarine volcanoes
Mid-ocean ridges
Magmatic processes
Volcanic processes
Explosive eruptions
Hydrothermal systems
Back arc spreading ridges
Near-ridge seamounts
Continental margin seamounts
Non-hot-spot linear chains
Eclectic seamounts topics
Margin processes
Hydrates and seeps
California borderland
Hot spot research
Hot-spot plumes
Magmatic processes
Volcanic processes
Explosive eruptions
Volcanic hazards
Hydrothermal systems
Flexural arch
Coral reefs
ReefGrow software
Eclectic topics
Submarine volcanism cruises
Volcanoes resources
Areas of study
Automated chemical sensors
Methane in the seafloor
Microscopic biology research
Open ocean biology research
Seafloor biology research
Volcanoes and seamounts
Hydrothermal vents
Methane in the seafloor
Submarine canyons
Earthquakes and landslides
Ocean acidification
Physical oceanography and climate change
Ocean circulation and algal blooms
Ocean cycles and climate change
Past research
Molecular ecology
Molecular systematics
SIMZ Project
Bone-eating worms
Gene flow and dispersal
Molecular-ecology expeditions
Ocean chemistry of greenhouse gases
Emerging science of a high CO2/low pH ocean
Research publications