Marine microbes (viruses, prokaryotes, and protists), though too small to be seen with the unaided eye, comprise the bulk of life in the sea and play significant roles in the cycling of nutrients, minerals, and energy in the ocean. Marine microbes also have great significance for human health and the quality of coastal environments. MEB faculty develop and use a variety of tools and approaches to understand microbial diversity, abundance, and population dynamics as well as the role of microbes in marine ecosystems from the poles to the tropics and from the benthos to the plankton.
The primary research theme of the Capone Lab is the cycling of Nitrogen in the marine environment. We have a particular interest in the biogeochemical and physiological factors controlling the marine nitrogen cycle. We have had a major focus on biological fixation, the enzymatic conversion of dinitrogen gas (N2) by certain marine microbes which results in the production of forms of nitrogen (e.g. ammonia) more useful to the ocean biota at large.
The USC Microbial Observatory focuses on exploratory investigation of prokaryotic and unicellular eukaryotic diversity in the San Pedro Channel, California, with a focus on time-dependent changes in community composition in relation to environmental parameters. It also includes focused studies of particular microbial groups.
The Graduate Program in Ocean Sciences (GPOS) provides interdisciplinary education and training to prepare professional ocean scientists for careers in academia, industry, and state and federal government. Students develop the ability to identify and solve significant problems in ocean sciences by using their training in several disciplines. They develop the ability to formulate and test hypotheses and integrate information and concepts about how the earth-ocean system is structured and how it functions. Training also is provided to develop skills in oral and written communication of technical and scientific information. Both M.S. and Ph.D. degree programs are offered; both require preparation of a thesis (M.S.) or dissertation (Ph.D.)
Our laboratory work has focused on examining how physiological acclimation to the ambient growth environment influences the absorption, scattering, and fluorescence properties of microbial cells. This information has contributed to a better understanding of the relationship between the optical properties of sea water and the distribution and growth rates of natural planktonic communities, and has proven useful to the interpretation of optical data obtained from instrument platforms located on ships, moorings, and satellites. This work has also led to the development of a fluorometer which may provide a new and rapid means of measuring primary production in the sea.
USC's department of Earth Sciences hosts a diverse group of scientists reconstructing and modeling past climate variability, studying the behavior of carbon within ocean and terrestrial systems, and deciphering clues to Earth's climate system in deep time.
The Department of Earth Sciences is one of the core departments in USC's Geobiology initiative and has a strong interest in pushing the boundaries of interdisciplinary research.
The Southern California Marine Institute (SCMI) represents a strategic alliance of 11 major universities in southern California. Eight universities from the California State University System representing the Ocean Studies Institute (Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Northridge, Pomona, San Bernardino and San Marcos) combined their marine resources with those of the University of Southern California, Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, U.C.L.A, and Occidental College.
The Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences present the challenge of a wide variety of problems of compelling scientific interest and increasing social relevance.
The Hamersley Laboratory at Soka University of America investigates nitrogen cycling in wetlands and the coastal ocean with an emphasis on denitrification and nitrogen fixation. Our work in collaboration with the Capone laboratory demonstrated the importance of deep water column nitrogen fixation in the San Pedro Basin. Future work will study seasonal profiles of nitrous oxide in order to understand the processes responsible for its production in hypoxic marine waters.
- Troy Gunderson
- USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies
- University of Southern California
- University Park Campus
- AHF 108
- Los Angeles, CA 90089-0371
- Phone: (213) 821 - 1431
- Email: email@example.com