David Caron

USC Associates Captain Allan Hancock Chair in Marine Science and Professor of Biological Sciences
Email dcaron@usc.edu Office AHF 301 Office Phone (213) 740-0203

Center, Institute & Lab Affiliations

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


  • 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
  • Tenure Track Appointments

    • Professor, University of Southern California, 01/01/1999 –
    • Senior Scientist, WHOI, 01/01/1997 – 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
    • , Field research at field stations in Bermuda (BBSR), Jamaica (DBRS), Barbados (BRI), Catalina Island (USC marine station), Caribbean Marine Research Ce, 01/01/1975 –
    • , Participation on 24 major research cruises., 01/01/1975 – 01/01/1999
  • 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.

  • Book Chapters

    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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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