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Douglas Capone

William and Julie Wrigley Chair in Environmental Studies and Professor of Biological Sciences

Contact Information
Phone: (213) 740-2772
Office: AHF 108

Curriculum Vitae
Lab Home Page
Marine Biology & Biological Oceanography Home Page
Capone Google Scholar Home Page

Biographical Sketch

Douglas G. Capone received his Ph.D. in Oceanography from the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences of the University of Miami (Fl) in 1978. He joined the faculty of the Marine Sciences Research Center of Stony Brook University (NY) in 1979 and the Center for Environmental Science of the University of Maryland in 1987. Since 1999, he has held the Wrigley Chair of Environmental Biology at the University of Southern California and is currently Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His research focuses on the role and importance of marine microbes in major biogeochemical cycles, particularly those of nitrogen and carbon, both from the perspective of the fundamental ecology of these ecosystems and their physical, chemical and biotic factors controls. Capone has studied diverse systems including the tropical open ocean, coral reefs, mangroves, temperate estuaries, groundwater aquifers and Antarctic snows. He has participated in over 30 major oceanographic expeditions to the tropical Atlantic, Caribbean and Pacific Oceans including to the Great Barrier Reef, over 10 as chief scientist. He has also conducted research at remote field stations in the Caribbean, Great Barrier Reef, McMurdo and South Pole Stations of the US Polar Program. He uses diverse approaches and technologies (e.g. of physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, geochemistry and remote sensing). He has published over 150 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals including Science and Nature. His research has been supported by NSF, NASA, NOAA, EPA and USGS (among others). In 1999, he received and led two major NSF grants targeting Biocomplexity in the Environment in which he organized multi-investigator teams composed of biological, chemical, geochemical and physical oceanographers, atmospheric chemists and modelers. He continues to collaborate with researchers in diverse fields and countries (e.g. Australia, France, Germany). Professor Capone is a leading expert on the marine N cycle. He is called upon frequently to provide definitive overviews on the subject. In the last year, he gave synthesis papers at international workshops in England and India. He produced a still highly regarded edited volume on the marine nitrogen cycle (Nitrogen in the Marine Environment, 1983, Academic Press) and has just completed the updated second edition, now in press, as lead Editor. In particular, he has shown nitrogen fixation to be a key biogeochemical process in several marine ecosystems. He documented the quantitative importance of nitrogen fixation in tropical seagrass ecosystems during his Ph.D. studies. More recently, he has focused on open ocean systems and organisms such as the cyanobacterium Trichodesmium, ubiquitous through the tropical ocean and a substantial source of fixed nitrogen. His work has revealed how nitrogen fixation may be a major determinant of the capacity of the oligotrophic tropical oceans to take up atmospheric carbon dioxide. Professor Capone has taken a leadership role in national environmental research programs. He has also made a major contribution to the development of human resources in oceanography and environmental science. He has successfully mentored 11 M.S., 12 Ph.D. students and 12 Postdoctoral fellows as well as numerous undergraduates. His students have gone on in the fields of Chemical and Biological Oceanography, Hydrology, and Environmental Microbiology. Over half of his graduate students (8) and postdoctoral associates (7) have been female.


Ph.D. Biological Oceanography, University of Miami, Rosensteil School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences, 12/1978
B.S. Biology, University of Miami, 12/1973

Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

Tenure Track Appointments

Professor, Center for Environmental Sciences, University of Maryland, 07/01/1987-08/01/1999  
Associate Professor, Marine Sciences Research Center, Stony Brook University, 09/01/1984-06/01/1987  

Non-Tenure Track Appointments

Research Assistant Professor, Marine Sciences Research Center, Stony Brook University, 03/01/1979-08/31/1984  

Visiting and Temporary Appointments

Visiting Scientist, Columbia University, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, 03/08/2007-04/08/2007  
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) Fellow, Laboratoire d'Océanographie de Villefranche, 09/01/2006-02/28/2007  
Research Collaborator, Department of Chemistry, Brookhaven National Laboratory, 1984-1991  

Description of Research

Summary Statement of Research Interests

Learning about bacteria's ability to promote the absorption of the greenhouse gas may shed light on how the oceans can mitigate the effects of pollution. That's partially why Capone researches the role and importance of marine bacteria in major biogeochemical cycles particularly those of nitrogen and carbon, as well as the response of these populations to, and interactions with, various environmental perturbations. Professor Capone is currently studying the importance of nitrogen fixation in the biogeochemistry of the oceans and the major groups of organisms involved in this process. He is also involved in other studies including experimental manipulation of nutrient dynamics in coral reefs systems, the examination of South Pole snows for active populations of bacteria, and analyses of microbial processes in mangrove ecosystems.

Research Keywords

Marine microbial ecology, biogeochemistry, nitrogen fixation, biocomplexity, mangrove, ecosystem, bacteria

Research Specialties

Marine biochemistry, microbiology, biogeochemistry and microbial ecology. The microbial ecology of nitrogen transformations with particular emphasis on nitrogen fixation. Pollutant impact on the microbiota of marine sediments and the role of microorganisms in environmental detoxification.

Funded Research

Contracts and Grants Awarded

Amazon influence on the Atlantic: carbon export from N fixation by Diatom Symbioses (ANACONDAS) (National Science Foundation), Capone, D.G., Berelson, W., $423,590, 10/01/2009-09/01/2012  
Documenting N2 fixation in N deficient waters of the Eastern Tropical South Pacific (National Science Foundation), Capone, D.G., Berelson, W., $826,537, 07/01/2009-06/30/2012  
The Importance of Molybdenum Speciation to Nitrogen Fixation and Assimilation in Lakes (National Science Foundation), Capone, D.G., Sanudo-Wilhelmy, S, $533,000, 09/01/2009-08/31/2011  
Biogeochemistry of Cyanobacterial Mats and Hyporheic Zone Microbes in McMurdo Dry Valley glacial mel (National Science Foundation), D.G. Capone, $375,000, 09/01/2008-08/31/2011  

USC Funding

College 2020 Research Clusters. Climate Change in the Southern California Bight: Integrating Science and Societal Implications: : We aim identify relevant environmental data sets and for ways to combine these data sets to create a comprehensive picture of changes in So. Cal's coastal waters, $300,000, 07/01/2010-06/30/2013  

Affiliations with Research Centers, Labs, and Other Institutions

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Collaborator
Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, Member of Wrigley affiliated faculty,

Conferences and Other Presentations

Conference Presentations

"Emerging Patterns of Nitrogen Fixation in the Oceans", Biennial Int. Symp. of Environmental Biogeochem., Keynote Lecture, Istanbul, Turkey, Int. Soc. of Environmental Biogeochem., Invited, 09/27/2011  
"Emerging patterns of oceanic nitrogen fixation", Agouron Institute N Cycle Symposium, Lecture/Seminar, Abstract, Scotsdale AZ, Agouron Institute, Invited, 11/2009  

Other Research

RECENT ABSTRACTS 2012 Hammond, D.E.; Prokopenko, M.G.; Yeung, L.Y.; Berelson, W.M.; Stanley, R.Haskell II, W.Z.; Knapp, A.N.; Rollins, N.Young, E.D.; Capone, D.G.; NET COMMUNITY AND GROSS PHOTOSYNTHETIC PRODUCTION RATES IN THE ETSP, BASED ON O2/AR RATIOS AND TRIPLE OXYGEN ISOTOPIC COMPOSITION OF DISSOLVED O2. Ocean Sciences Meeting, Salt Lake City, Feb. 2012. Berelson, W.Rollins, N.Haskell, W.Tems, C.Wolfe, C.Prokopenko, M.Knapp, A.N.; Casciotti, K.L.; Hammond, D.E.; Capone, D.G.; SEDIMENTATION AND BIOGENIC MATTER REMINERALIZATION IN THE EASTERN TROPICAL SOUTH PACIFIC (ETSP); SEDIMENT TRAP AND SEDIMENT PORE WATER FLUXES. Ocean Sciences Meeting, Salt Lake City, Feb. 2012. Knapp, A.N.; Casciotti, K.L.; Buchwald, C.Bonnet, S.Dekaezemacker, J.Gunderson, T.Prokopenko, M.Berelson, W.M.; Capone, D.G.; QUANTIFYING THE IMPORTANCE OF NITRATE AND N2 FIXATION AS SOURCES OF NEW N FOR EXPORT PRODUCTION IN THE EASTERN TROPICAL SOUTH PACIFIC USING N ISOTOPE BUDGETS. Ocean Sciences Meeting, Salt Lake City, Feb. 2012. Turk-Kubo, K.A.; Bonnet, S.Dekaezemacker, J.Foster, R.Liss, A.Capone, D.G.; Zehr, J.P.; NITROGEN FIXATION AND THE DIVERSITY, ABUNDANCE AND NITROGENASE (NIFH) GENE EXPRESSION OF DIAZOTROPHS IN THE EASTERN TROPICAL SOUTH PACIFIC. Ocean Sciences Meeting, Salt Lake City, Feb. 2012. Dekaezemacker, J.Bonnet, S.Turk-Kubo, K.A.; Moutin, T.Grosso, O.Knapp, A.N.; Capone, D.G.; ORGANIC/INORGANIC NUTRIENT CONTROL OF N2 FIXATION IN THE EASTERN TROPICAL SOUTH PACIFIC. Ocean Sciences Meeting, Salt Lake City, Feb. 2012. Haskell II, W.Z.; Kadko, D.Berelson, W.M.; Hammond, D.E.; Knapp, A.N.; Capone, D.G.; UPWELLING VELOCITIES AND EDDY DIFFUSIVITY FROM 7BE MEASUREMENTS USED TO COMPARE VERTICAL NUTRIENT FLUXES TO EXPORT POC FLUX IN THE ETSP. Ocean Sciences Meeting, Salt Lake City, Feb. 2012. Liss, A.M.; Tiahlo, M.Sañudo-Wilhelmy, S.A.; Capone, D.G.; THE INFLUENCE OF NICKEL ON NITROGEN AND CARBON FIXATION RATES IN THE EASTERN TROPICAL SOUTH PACIFIC. Ocean Sciences Meeting, Salt Lake City, Feb. 2012. Capone, D.G.; Tiahlo, M.Knapp, A.Moutin, T.Berelson, W.CARBON FIXATION AND PHOSPHORUS TURNOVER IN SURFACE WATERS OF THE EASTERN TROPICAL SOUTH PACIFIC (ETSP) Ocean Sciences Meeting, Salt Lake City, Feb. 2012. Hamersley, M. R.; Turk, K. A.; Leinweber, A.; Gruber, N.; Zehr, J. P.; Gunderson, T.; Capone, D. G.; NITROGEN FIXATION WITHIN THE WATER COLUMN OF HYPOXIC BASINS OF THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BIGHT Ocean Sciences Meeting, Salt Lake City, Feb. 2012. Foster, R. A.; Franzke, D.; Padilla, C.; Tiahlo, M.; Turk-Kubo, K.; Capone, D. G.; Zehr, J. P.; NANOSIMS IMAGING OF N, C, AND P ASSIMILATION IN FIELD POPULATIONS OF DIATOM-RICHELIA SYMBIOSES AND TRICHODESMIUM SPP. FROM THE WTNA Ocean Sciences Meeting, Salt Lake City, Feb. 2012. Yager, P. L.; Coles, V. J.; Goes, J.; Montoya, J.; Steinberg, D.; Berelson, W.; Hood, R.; Capone, D.; Carpenter, E.; ANACONDAS: AMAZON INFLUENCE ON THE ATLANTIC: CARBON EXPORT FROM NITROGEN FIXATION BY DIATOM SYMBIOSES Ocean Sciences Meeting, Salt Lake City, Feb. 2012. Morando Jr, M. B.; Foster, R. A.; Tiahlo, M.; Landrum, J.; Gunderson, T. E.; Capone, D. G.; PHOSPHATE LIMITATION AND P UPTAKE IN TRICHODESMIUM SPP. ALONG A TRANSECT OF THE AMAZON RIVER PLUME. Ocean Sciences Meeting, Salt Lake City, Feb. 2012. Barada, L. P.; Capone, D. G.; Sanudo-Wilhelmy, S. A.; DISTRIBUTION OF B VITAMINS IN THE WESTERN TROPICAL NORTH ATLANTIC. Ocean Sciences Meeting, Salt Lake City, Feb. 2012. 2011 Romero I.C., N. Klein, L.Barada, J. Vo, A.Liss, L. Cutter, T.Gunderson, M.Tiahlo, J.Glass, S.Sanudo-Wilhelmy and D.G.Capone. Nutrient controls on nitrogen fixation and assimilation in Southern California Lakes. Aquatic Sciences Meeting of ASLO, San Juan, Feb 2011 Knapp A.N., S. Bonnet, J. Dekaezemacker, K. Casciotti, J.A. Sohm, D.G. Capone. Sensitivity of Trichodesmium and Crocosphaera spp. Growth and N2 fixation rates to macro nutrient variation in batch cultures. Aquatic Sciences Meeting of ASLO, San Juan, Feb 2011 2010 Knapp, A.N., D.M. Sigman, F. Lipschultz, A. B. Kustka, D.G. Capone. Isotopic analysis of bulk, LMW, and HMW DON d15N indicates recycled nitrogen release from marine DON. AGU Fall meeting, San Francisco Prokopenko M.G., L.Y. Yeung, W. M. Berelson, J.C. Fleming, N. Rollins, E. Young, W.Z. Haskell II, D.E. Hammond, D.G. Capone. Net Community and Gross Photosynthetic Production rates in the Eastern Tropical South Pacific, as determined from O2/Ar ratios and triple oxygen isotopic composition of dissolved O2. AGU Fall meeting, San Francisco Haskell II, W.Z., W.M. Berelson, D.E. Hammond, M. G. Prokopenko, L.Y. Yeung, D.G. Capone. Export POC flux calculated from 234Th measurements, sediment traps and O2 supersaturation in the Eastern Tropical South Pacific. AGU Fall meeting, San Francisco , 01/2010-02/2012  



Capone, D. G., Bronk, D., Mulholland, M., Carpenter, E. J. (2008). Nitrogen in the Marine Environment, 2nd edition. San Diego: Academic Press/ Elsevier.

Book Chapter

Carpenter, E. J., Capone, D. G. (2008). Nitrogen Fixation in the Marine Environment. 2nd pp. 141-198. San Diego: Elsevier, Academic Press.

Journal Article

Knapp, A. N., Sigman, D. M., Lipschultz, F., Kustka, A. B., Capone, D. G. Isotopic evidence for recycled nitrogen release from bulk marine DON., Global Biogeochemical Cycles 2011; Vol. 25: 10.1029/2010GB003878.
Sohm, J. A., Subramaniam, A., Gunderson, T., Carpenter, E. J., Capone, D. G. Nitrogen fixation by Trichodesmium spp. and unicellular diazotrophs in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre., Journal of Geophysical Research- Biogeosciences 2011; 10.1029/2010JG001513.
Romero, I. C., Jacobson, M., Fuhrman, J. A., Fogel, M., Capone, D. G. Long-term nitrogen and phosphorus fertilization effects on N2 fixation rates and nifH gene community patterns in mangrove sediments., Marine Ecology 2011; 10.1111/j.1439-0485.2011.00465.x.
Cowan, D. A., Sohm, J. A., Makhalanyane, T., Capone, D. G., Green, T. G., Cary, S. C., Tuffin, I. M. Hypolithic communities: important nitrogen sources in Antarctic desert soils., Environmental Microbiology Reports 2011; 10.1111/j.1758-2229.2011.00266.x.
Sohm, J. A., Webb, E. A., Capone, D. G. Emerging Patterns of Marine Nitrogen Fixation., Nature Reviews Microbiology 2011; Vol. 9: 499-508.
Collins, L. E., Berelson, W. M., Hammond, D., Knapp, A., Schwartz, R., Capone, D. G. Particle fluxes in San Pedro Basin, California: A four-year record of sedimentation and physical forcing., Deep-Sea Research I 2011; Vol. 58: 818-914.
Hamersley, M. R., Gunderson, T., Leinweber, A., Gruber, N., Capone, D. G. Nitrogen fixation in the water column of two hypoxic basins within the Southern California Bight., Aquatic Microbial Ecology 2011; Vol. 63: 193-205.
Bonnet, S., Webb, E. A., Panzeca, C., Karl, D. M., Capone, D. G., Sañudo-Wilhelmy, S. A. Globally Distributed Cyanobacteria are Significant Producers of Vitamin B12 in the Marine Environment., Limnology and Oceanography 2010; Vol. 55: 1959–1964.
Sohm, J. A., Capone, D. G. (2010). Intrabasin differences in phosphorus pools, cycling and stress in the tropical North Atlantic Ocean: patterns and possible causes. Global Biogeochem. Cycles. Vol. 24, pp. DOI: 10.1029/2008GB003414.
Bertics, V. J., Sohm, J. A., Chow, C. T., Capone, D. G., Fuhrman, J. A., Ziebis, W. Burrowing deeper into benthic nitrogen fixation., Marine Ecology Progress Series 2010; Vol. 409: 1–15.
Finzi, J. A., Pett-Ridge, J., Weber, P., Popa, R., Fallon, S., Nealson, K., Gunderson, T., Capone, D. G. (2009). Fixation and fate of carbon and nitrogen in the cyanobacterium Trichodesmium using nanometer Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (NanoSIMS). Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. pp. 10.1073/pnas.0810547106.
Bonnet, S., Biegala, I., Dutrieux, P., Slemons, L. O., Capone, D. G. Nitrogen fixation in the western equatorial Pacific., Global Biogeochem. Cycles 2009; Vol. doi (10): 029/2008GB003439,.
Duce, R., LaRoche, J., Altier, K., Arrigo, K., Baker, A., Capone, D. G., et, a. (2008). Impacts of Atmospheric Anthropogenic Nitrogen on the Open Ocean. Science. Vol. 320, pp. 893-897.
Subramaniam, A., Yager, P., Carpenter, E., Mahaffey, C., Bjorkman, K., Cooley, S., Montoya, J., Sanudo-Wilhelmy, S., Shipe, R., Capone, D. G. (2008). Amazon River enhances diazotrophy and carbon sequestration in the tropical North Atlantic Ocean. Proceedings, National Academy of Sciences. Vol. 105, pp. DOI 10.1073/pnas.0710279105.
Sohm, J. A., Mahaffey, C., Capone, D. G. (2008). Assessment of relative phosphorus limitation of Trichodesmium spp. in the North Pacific and Atlantic and the north coast of Australia. Limnology and Oceanography. Vol. 53, pp. 2495-2502.
Shipe, R. F., Carpenter, E. J., Govil, S. R., Capone, D. G. (2007). Limitation of phytoplankton production by Si and N in the Western Atlantic Ocean. Marine Ecology Progress Series. Vol. 338, pp. 33-45.
Popa, R., Weber, P., Finzi, J., Fallon, S., Pett-Ridge, J., Hutcheon, I., Nealson, K., Capone, D. G. (2007). Carbon and nitrogen fixation and metabolite exchange in and between individual cells of Anabaena oscillarioides. The International Society of Microbial Ecology Journal. Vol. 1, pp. 354-360 doi:10.1038/ismej.2007.44.
Montoya, J. P., Voss, M., Capone, D. G. (2007). Spatial variation in N2-fixation rate and diazotroph activity in the Tropical Atlantic. Biogeosciences. Vol. 4,, pp. 369-376.
Foster, R. A., Capone, D. G., Carpenter, E. J., Mahaffey, C., Subramaniam, A., Zehr, J. P. (2007). Influence of the Amazon River plume on distributions of free-living and symbiotic cyanobacteria in the western tropical north Atlantic Ocean. Limnology and Oceangraphy. Vol. 52, pp. 517-532.
Sohm, J., Capone, D. G. (2006). Phosphorus dynamics of the tropical and subtropical north Atlantic: Trichodesmium versus bulk plankton. Marine Ecology: Progress Series. Vol. 317, pp. 21-28.

Honors and Awards

Fellow (or Equivalent) of National Society in Discipline, American Geophysical Union, 2008-  
Fellow (or Equivalent) of National Society in Discipline, California Academy of Science, 2008-  
Fellow (or Equivalent) of National Society in Discipline, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2007-  
Fellow (or Equivalent) of National Society in Discipline, American Academy of Microbiology, 2004-  
USC Endowed Chair, William and Julie Wrigley Chair in Environmental Studies, 9/1/1999-  
Fellow, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), 2006-2007   
Anarctic Service Medal, 2000-2001   

Service to the University

Administrative Appointments

Chair, Biological Sciences, 07/01/2007-06/30/2013  
Director, Marine Environmental Biology Section of BISC, 2003-2006  

Service to the Profession

Administrative Appointments

Chief Scientist, RV Atlantis cruise AT 15-61 Jan 28, 2010 - Mar 3, 2010, Eastern Tropical South Pacific, 2009-2010   

Conferences Organized

Co-organizer, Colloquium on Climate Change in the Southern California Region, Davidson Center, USC, A well attended Colloquium with 4 invited speakers, 2 panel discussions and about 100 attendees, 10/2011-  
Organizer, Climate change in the Southern California Bight, USC, Workshop - Approximately 60 attendees from USC and partner institutions in the region, 2010-2011   

Editorships and Editorial Boards

Member, Faculty of 1000, 08/2008-  
Editor, Aquatic Microbial Ecology, 2007-  
Board of Editors, mBio Am. Soc. Microbiol. on line open access journal, 08/2011-07/2014  
Editorial Board, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 1993-2010  

Professional Offices

Secretary, International Symposium on Environmental Biogeochemistry, 1997-2012  

Professional Memberships

American Geophysical Union, 1995-2010  
Americal Society of Limnology and Oceanography, 1975-2010  
American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1975-2010  
American Society for Microbiology, 1975-2010  
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