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David Caron

Professor of Biological Sciences

Contact Information
Phone: (213) 740-0203
Office: AHF 301

Curriculum Vitae
Lab Home Page

Biographical Sketch



Ph.D. Joint Program in Biological Oceanography, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Inst.,, 1/1984
M.S. Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, 1/1977
B.S. Microbiology, University of Rhode Island, 1/1975

Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

Professor, University of Southern California, 01/01/1999-  
, Field research at field stations in Bermuda (BBSR), Jamaica (DBRS), Barbados (BRI), Catalina Island (USC marine station), Caribbean Marine Research Ce, 01/01/1975-  
Senior Scientist, WHOI, 01/01/1997-01/01/1999  
, Participation on 24 major research cruises., 01/01/1975-01/01/1999  
Associate Scientist with tenure, WHOI, 01/01/1993-01/01/1997  
Associate Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 01/01/1989-01/01/1993  
Assistant Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 01/01/1985-01/01/1989  
Associate Research Scientist, Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University, 01/01/1984-01/01/1985  

Description of Research

Summary Statement of Research Interests

Marine and freshwater microbial ecology, with emphasis on the trophic relationships between protists (microalgae and protozoa) and other planktonic and benthic microorganisms. Recent research programs have focused on the distribution, feeding ecology, respiration and nutrient regeneration of bacterivorous and herbivorous protozoa, the ecology of harmful algae, the physiology of Antarctic protists, feeding and growth of phagotrophic (mixotrophic) microalgae, and the development of molecular biological approaches for studying the ecology of free-living microorganisms.

Affiliations with Research Centers, Labs, and Other Institutions

Center for Integrated Networked Aquatic Platforms (CINAPS), Co-founder,
Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies,


Book Chapter

Caron, D. A., Gast, R. J. (2010). Heterotrophic protists associated with sea ice. 2nd pp. 327-356. Oxford: Sea Ice Wiley-Blackwell.

Journal Article

Caron, D. A., Countway, P. D., Jones, A. C., Kim, D. Y., Schnetzer, A. (2012). Marine protistan diversity. Annual Review of Marine Science/Annual Reviews. Vol. 4 (1), pp. 467-493.
Stauffer, B. A., Gellene, A., Schnetzer, A., Seubert, E. L., Oberg, C., Sukhatme, G. S., Caron, D. A. (2012). An oceanographic, meterological and biological 'perfect storm' yields a massive fish kill. Marine Ecology Progress Series. Vol. 468, pp. 231-243.
Stauffer, B. A., Schnetzer, A., Gellene, A., Oberg, C., Sukhatme, G. S., Caron, D. A. (2012). Effects of an acute hypoxia event on microplankton community structure in a coastal harbor of Southern California. Estuaries and Coasts.
Caron, D. A., Hutchins, D. A. (2012). The effects of changing climate on microzooplankton grazing and community structure: drivers, predictions and knowledge gaps. Journal of Plankton Research.
Caron, D. A., Garneau, M. -., Seubert, E., Howard, M. D., Darjany, D., Schnetzer, A., Cetinic, I., Filteau, G., Lauri, P., Jones, B., Trussell, S. (2010). Harmful algae and their potential impacts on desalination operations off southern California. Water Research. Vol. 44, pp. 385-416.
Smith, R. N., Das, J., Heidarsson, H., Pereira, A. M., Arrichiello, F., Cetinic, I., Darjany, L., Garneau, M. -., Howard, M. D., Oberg, C., Ragan, M., Seubert, E., Smith, E. C., Stauffer, B. A., Schnetzer, A., Toro-Farmer, G., Caron, D. A., Jones, B. H., Sukhatme, G. S. (2009). The USC Center for Integrated Networked Aquatic PlatformS (CINAPS): observing and monitoring the Southern California Bight. IEEE Robotics and Automation.
Caron, D. A., Countway, P. D., Savai, P., Gast, R. J., Schnetzer, A., Moorthi, S. D., Dennett, M. R., Moran, D. M., Jones, A. C. (2009). Defining DNA-based operational taxonomic units for microbial eukaryote ecology. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Vol. 75, pp. 5797-5808.
Caron, D. A., Countway, P. D. (2009). Hypotheses on the role of the protistan rare biosphere in a changing world. Aquatic Microbial Ecology. Vol. 57, pp. 227-238.
Caron, D. A., Gast, R. J., Countway, P. D., Heidelberg, K. B. (2009). Microbial eukaryote diversity and biogeography. Microbe. Vol. 4, pp. 71-77.
Caron, D. A. (2009). New accomplishments and approaches for assessing protistan diversity and ecology in natural ecosystems. BioScience. Vol. 59, pp. 287-299.
Caron, D. A. (2009). Protistan biogeography: why all the fuss?. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology. Vol. 56, pp. 105-112.
Caron, D. A., Worden, A. Z., Countway, P. D., Demir, E., Heidelberg, K. B. (2009). Protists are microbes too: a perspective. The ISME Journal. Vol. 3, pp. 4-12.
Gast, R. J., Sanders, R. W., Caron, D. A. (2009). Ecological strategies of protists and their symbiotic relationships with prokaryotic microbes. Trends in Microbiology. Vol. 17, pp. 563-569.
Rose, J. M., Vora, N. M., Countway, P. D., Gast, R. J., Caron, D. A. (2009). Effects of temperature on growth rate and gross growth efficiency of an Antarctic bacterivorous protist. The ISME Journal. Vol. 3 (The ISME Journal (2009) 3, 252???260), pp. 252-260.
Sekula-Wood, E., Schnetzer, A., Benitez-Nelson, C. R., Anderson, C., Berelson, W., Brzezinksi, M., Burns, J., Caron, D. A., Cetinic, I., Ferry, J., Fitzpatrick, E., Jones, B., Miller, P. E., Morton, S. L., Schaffner, R., Siegel, D., Thunell, R. (2009). Rapid downward transport of the neurotoxin domoic acid in coastal waters. Nature Geoscience. Vol. 2, pp. 272-275.
Vigil, P., Countway, P. D., Rose, J. M., Gobler, C. J., Lonsdale, D. J., Caron, D. A. (2009). Rapid shifts in dominant taxa among microbial eukaryotes in estuarine ecosystems. Aquatic Microbial Ecology. Vol. 54, pp. 83-100.
Caron, D. A., Stauffer, B. A., Moorthi, S. D., Singh, A., Batalin, M., Graham, E., Hansen, M., Kaiser, W. J., Das, J., Pereira, A., Dhariwal, A., Zhang, B., Oberg, C., Sukhatme, G. S. (2008). Macro- to fine-scale spatial and temporal distributions and dynamics of phytoplankton and their environmental driving forces in a small subalpine lake in southern California, USA. Limnology and Oceanography. Vol. 58, pp. 2333-2349.
Countway, P. D., Gast, R. J., Dennett, M. R., Savai, P., Rose, J. M., Caron, D. A. (2007). Distinct protistan assemblages characterize the euphotic zone and deep sea (2500 m) of the western N. Atlantic (Sargasso Sea and Gulf Stream). Environmental Microbiology. Vol. 9, pp. 1219-1232.
Gast, R. J., Moran, D. M., Dennett, M. R., Caron, D. A. (2007). Kleptoplasty in an Antarctic dinoflagellate: caught in evolutionary transition?. Environmental Microbiology. Vol. 9, pp. 39-45.
Rose, J. M., Caron, D. A. (2007). Does low temperature constrain the growth rates of heterotrophic protists? Evidence and implications for algal blooms in cold water. Limnology and Oceanography. Vol. 52, pp. 886-895.
Schnetzer, A., Miller, P. E., Schnaffner, R. A., Stauffer, B. A., Jones, B. H., Weisberg, S. B., DiGiacomo, P. M., Berelson, W. M., Caron, D. A. (2007). Blooms of Pseudo-nitzschia and domoic acid in the San Pedro Channel and Los Angeles harbor areas of the Southern California Bight, 2003-2004. Harmful Algae. Vol. 6, pp. 372-387.
Sherr, B. F., Sherr, E. B., Caron, D. A., Vaulot, D., Worden, A. Z. (2007). A sea of microbes: oceanic protists. Oceanography. Vol. 20, pp. 102-106.

Multimedia Scholarship and Creative Works

Short Movie, "In Harm's Way". Short movie directed by Lauren Farrar (USC Cinema) on the effects of toxic algal blooms on the health of marine animals, 2007-2008   

Honors and Awards

American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, 2011-  
Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, 2007-  
USC Raubenheimer Outstanding Senior Faculty Award, 2010-2011   
USC Raubenheimer Outstanding Senior Faculty Award, Excelled in teaching, research and service to the University., 2010  
President, International Society of Protistologists, 2004-2005   
Seymour Hutner Award (Society of Protozoologists), 2002-2003   
Mary Sears Endowed Chair for Excellence in Biological Oceanography (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution), 1999  
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