Marine and Environmental Biology

The core scientific mission of the Marine and Environmental Biology section is to understand marine organisms, their interactions in complex marine ecosystems, and the emergent properties of the communities that result from these interactions. By design and by necessity this work includes studies at all levels of biological organization: molecular, genetic, organismal, population and community, and the intersection between the activities of organisms and the abiotic world.

The interdisciplinary and integrative nature of our research presents opportunities to create unique linkages across scales, educating our students in the connections between molecular biology, physiological ecology, neurobiology, and the larger-scale functions of organisms and ecosystems. It also creates natural links to other units within the university, including the earth sciences department, the Viterbi School of Engineering, the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, as well as outside USC, such as the nearby L.A. County Natural History Museum.

  • The research interests of the MEB faculty are diverse, but include particular strengths in two areas: microbial ecology, biogeochemistry, and geobiology, including biodiversity and molecular ecology; and
  • Integrative organismal biology, encompassing classical fields of experimental biology, physiology, physiological ecology, conservation biology, and the population and quantitative genetics of marine species, using state-of-the-art genomics approaches.

We aspire to become the globally recognized center for the study of the structure and dynamics of microbial ecosystems and for the conservation and enhancement of living marine resources. Through our graduate program, it is our intention to set the standard for the training of the next generation of scientists in these two key areas.

Marine and Environmental Biology Section Head: John Heidelberg

  • Department of Biological Sciences
  • University of Southern California
  • Allan Hancock Foundation Building
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0371