Feixue Fu

Associate Professor (Research) of Biological Sciences
Email ffu@usc.edu Office AHF 137 Office Phone (213) 740-3188

Center, Institute & Lab Affiliations

  • Dept of Chemical and Physical Oceanography, University of Otago. Dunedin, New Zealand, visiting scientist, collaboratory research projects
  • Key Laboratory of Marine Ecology & Environmental Science Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Qingdao, People’s Republic of China, visiting scientist, collaboratory research projects


  • Ph.D. , University of Queensland, Australia, 9/2003
    • Postdoctoral researcher, University of Delaware, 2003-2007
  • Research, Teaching, Practice, and Clinical Appointments

    • Research Assistant Professor, Dept. of Biological Sciences, University of Southern California, 2007-

    PostDoctoral Appointments

    • Postdoctoral researcher, College of Marine Studies, University of Delaware, 2003 – 2007
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    Marine nitrogen fixation; nutrient limitation of marine phytoplankton growth; global change effects on phytoplankton growth and community structure; biology of cyanobacteria, coccolithophorids and harmful algae; iron and phosphorus biogeochemistry.

    Research Keywords

    N2 fixation, cyanobacteria, harmful alga bloom, global climate change, nutrient limitation

    Detailed Statement of Research Interests

    I am interested in understanding what controls nitrogen fixation by marine cyanobacteria such as Trichodesmium and Crocosphaera, since these photosynthetic prokaryotes have a globally significant role in the nitrogen cycle by providing a major source of new nitrogen to many ocean ecosystems. Recent projects include an examination of phosphorus requirements and uptake kinetics of Trichodesmium, as well as other ecologically important cyanobacteria such as Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus. Another major research interest centers on the effects of climate change variables on phytoplankton communities in the ocean. There is a considerable body of previous and current work on how rising anthropogenic CO2 and temperature could affect terrestrial communities, such as forest productivity and diversity. However, the possible effects on marine biological communities have received much less attention. This work uses manipulative experiments to adjust pCO2 and temperature in incubated natural phytoplankton communities and laboratory cultures to the levels predicted over the next century. Changes in algal physiology, community structure, and nutrient and carbon cycling are then closely examined in these “greenhouse ocean” simulations. To date I have carried out major climate change simulation on the physiology of the cyanobacteria Trichodesmium, Crocosphaera, Synechococcus, Prochlorococcus and several species of eukaryotic harmful algae (HABs), work which has recently been or is now in the process of being published. I have also been involved in investigations into the causes of blooms of harmful marine phytoplankton such as raphidophytes and dinoflagellates in coastal waters, including testing how rising CO2 affects community changes in natural HAB populations in estuaries. Finally, I am currently conducting long-term experiments to look at possible adaptation and evolution of marine cyanobacteria and algae in response to changing CO2 and climate regimes.

  • Contracts and Grants Awarded

    • EAGER: Gene expression patterns in high CO2-adapted Trichodesmium, D.A Hutchins, Fei-Xue Fu, $48,506, 2010-2011
    • Will a warmer, more acidic ocean lead to increased Pseudo-nitzschia bloom toxicity, Dave Hutchins, Feixue Fu, $147,915, 2010-2011
    • “Experimental studies to understand and evaluate acclimation of marine plankton assemblages to clima, Astrid Schnetzer, Feixue Fu, $710,000, 2009-2010
    • Changing Phytoplankton Trace Metal Requirements In A High CO2 Ocean, Fei-Xue Fu, $428,461, 2008-2009
    • FeCycle II-Natural Variability in Plankton Iron Quotas During an Unamended Lagrangian Experiment, (NSF), D.A. Hutchins, Feixue Fu, $254,816, 2007-2008
    • SGER: Science-of-Opportunity onboard Ice Breaker Oden – Phytoplankton Global Change Experiments and, (NSF-OPP), D. A. Hutchins, Feixue Fu, $78,476, 2007-2008

    USC Funding

    • WiSE Program. Impacts of future rising CO2 and temperature on harmful algal blooms along the California coast: To determine the effects of future increases in carbon dioxide and temperature on the growth rates, toxin production and photosynthetic physiology of domoic acid-producing diatom Pseudo-nitzschia. , $12500, 07/01/2008 – 06/30/2009
  • Conference Presentations

    • CO2 concentration controls Trichodesmium nitrogen and carbon fixation rates, growth rates and elemental ratios , 2007 ASLO meetingTalk/Oral Presentation, 2007-2008
    • Does CO2 play a role in controlling N2 fixation across systems , 2008 Ocean Sciences MeetingTalk/Oral Presentation, Orlando, Florida, 2007-2008
    • Does CO2 play a role in controlling oceanic N2 fixation? , Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry workshopPoster, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2007-2008
    • Linking the future biogeochemical cycles of C, N, and Fe: Interactions between cyanobacterial N2 fixation and Fe limitation in a high CO2 ocean , NSF Ocean Carbon Biogeochemistry workshopPoster, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2007-2008
    • Rising CO2 and temperature effects on community dynamics of harmful and harmless estuarine algal groups , 2007 ASLO meetingTalk/Oral Presentation, 2007-2008
    • Efeccts of rising CO2 and temperature on the growth and photosynthesis of the marine raphidophyte Heterosigma and the dinoflagellate Prorocentrum minimum , ASLOPoster, 2006-2007
  • Book Chapters

    • Hutchins, D. A., Fu, F. (2008). Linking the oceanic biogeochemistry of iron and phosphorus with the marine nitrogen cycle. pp. 1627-1666. Amsterdam: Nitrogen in the Marine Environment/Elsevier.

    Journal Article

    • Fu, F., Mulholland, M. R., Garcia, N. S., Beck, A., Bernhardt, P. W., Warner, M. E., Sañudo-Wilhelmy, S. A., Hutchins, D. A. (2008). Interactions between changing pCO2, N2 fixation, and Fe limitation in the marine unicellular cyanobacterium Crocosphaera. Limnology and Oceanography. Vol. 53 (6), pp. 2472-2484.
    • Feng, Y., Warner, M. E., Zhang, Y., Sun, J., Fu, F., Rose, J., Hutchins, D. A. (2008). Interactive effects of increased pCO2, temperature and irradiance on the marine coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi (Prymnesiophyceae). European J. of Phycology. Vol. 43 (1), pp. 87-98.
    • Fu, F., Zhang, Y., Warner, M. E., Feng, Y., Sun, J., Hutchins, D. A. (2008). A comparison of future increased CO2 and temperature effects on sympatric Heterosigma akashiwo and Prorocentrum minimum. Harmful Algae. Vol. 7 (1), pp. 76-90.
    • Hutchins, D. A., Fu, F., Zhang, Y., Warner, M. E., Feng, Y., Portune, K., Bernhardt, P. W., Mulholland, M. R. (2007). CO2 control of Trichodesmium N2 fixation, photosynthesis, growth rates, and elemental ratios: Implications for past, present and future ocean biogeochemistry. Limnology and Oceanography. Vol. 52 (4), pp. 1293-1304.
    • Zhang, Y., Fu, F., Whereat, E., Coyne, K., Hutchins, D. (2006). Bottom-up controls on a mixed-species HAB assemblage: A comparison of sympatric Chattonella subsalsa and Heterosigma akashiwo (Raphidophyceae) isolates from the Delaware Inland Bays, USA. Harmful Algae. Vol. 5, pp. 310-320.
    • Fu, F., Zhang, Y., Feng, Y., Hutchins, D. (2006). Phosphate and ATP uptake and growth kinetics in axenic cultures of the cyanobacterium Synechococcus CCMP 1334. European Journal of Phycology. Vol. 41, pp. 15-28.
    • Miao, A., Hutchins, D., Yin, K., Fu, F., Harrison, P., Wang, W. (2006). Macronutrient and iron limitation of phytoplankton growth in Hong Kong coastal waters. Marine Ecology Progress Series. Vol. 318, pp. 141-152.
    • Sanudo-Wilhemy, S. A., Tovar-Sanchez, A., Fu, F., Capone, D. G., Carpenter, E. J., Hutchins, D. A. (2004). The Impact of Surface-Adsorbed Phosphorus on Phytoplankton Redfield Stoichiometry. Nature. Vol. 432, pp. 897-900.