Myrna Jacobson

Adjunct Professor (Research) of Biological Sciences
Email Office AHF 139 Office Phone (213) 740-5145


Myrna Jacobson Meyers is a biogeochemist focusing on nutrient limitation and excess,using ectoenzyme markers. She is interested in cell communication and in addition, she develops, in conjunction with the John Hench School of Cinema arts, animation to describe fundamental biological principals, and teaches how to communicate science using learner centered learning techniques.


  • Ph.D. Oceanography, SUNY Stony Brook, 1990
    • Senior Research Faculty , Georgia Institute of Technology, 1996-2002
    • Senior National Research Council Fellow- , NE RL Environmental Protection Agency, Athens GA, 1996-1999
    • Research Associate, Southeastern Research Program (SERP) , Florida International University, Miami, FL , 1993-1995
    • Postdoctoral Sea Grant Fellow , Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Division of Marine Biology and Fishes, Miami, FL, 1992-1993
  • Research, Teaching, Practice, and Clinical Appointments

    • Assistant Research Scientist , University of Southern California , 2000-
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    Myrna Jacobson Meyers is a biogeochemist studying physiological measures of marithe ne and freshwater ecosystems including sediment, water, plant, algae etc. Measurements in our laboratory reflect the activity and function of the microbiome and associated biota of the environment in responses to changes in nutrients and temperature (both seasonal and evolving thermal increases). Her current research involves the use of extracellular enzymes as measures of kelp physiological conditions and variations in production of kelp derivatives as algae change with age and environment. Analysis includes enzymes and nutrients of kelp fronds from different depths, kelp ages, nutrient, and temperature conditions. In addition, she is experimenting with methods for development of protocol for serial extraction of hormones (ie. auxins etc.), metals (ie. heavy metals), and biogas from Kelp, and the residual (the latter tested for feasibility of use in farming as mulch to increase porosity of soils). She also co-teaches a science communication course (CASA – communicating science to all audiences).

    Research Keywords

    Biogeochemistry, Environmental EctoEnzymes, Nutrient imbalances, Communicating science through words and cartoons

  • USC Funding

    • Presidents Fellowship. Development of Biomass measurement: Student Fellowship to learn and develop PFLA biomass measurement for sediments to use in laboratory research., $1000, Fall 2009
    • BIOLOGY . SOMA FELLOWSHIP : One-time fellowship to the John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts to create artistic piece about the Marine Environmental Biology Department used in the Web design and student recruitment., $4000, Fall 2009
    • James H. Zumberge Faculty Research and Innovation Grant . Wrigley Institute of Environmental Studies and DADA John Hench School of Cinema Arts Visualization Science A Catalina Island retre: Science & Art weekend on Catalina Island September2008. Research collaboration to develop works at the intersection of art and science. Speakers: Pieter Folkens,Eric Hanson,Ruth West,Diane Holland. , $14000, 2008-2009
    • Provost Undergraduate Research Fellowship. Comparison of methods of measurement of biomass in mud and sand samples : We plan to compare the hospholipid fatty acid biomass assay with fluorescent microscopy and the automated-ribosomal intergenic spacer (ARISA) technique. , $2500, Fall 2008
    • Presidents Fellowship for Research . Measurement of Nitrogen, phosphorus and Carbon sources in different environments to calibrate ectoenzyme activity with environmental change.: Ammonium,low level nitrate, inorganic phosphate, organic phosphate, total phosphate, C:N ratios will be measured in sand and mud in an attempt to calibrate ectoenzyme activity measured., $2500, Fall 2008
    • SOARSophomore Opportunities for Academic Research . Seasonal ectoenzyme activity in Catalina mud and sand: We tested the natural variations in ectoenzyme activity for the mud and sand acquired Catalina Island samples without augmenting nutrient levels using a 96-well plate method developed by our lab. , $1000, 2007-2008
    • Rose Hill Undergraduate research Fellowship . Comparison of ectoenzyme activity from pristene sand and mud areas and correlations with phosphorous nutrient sources: Use ectoenzymes to describe an environment’s nutrient load. Calabrate to those to traditional nutrient analysis of Carbon nitrogen and phosphorous species. , $1500, Spring 2008
  • Conference Presentations

    • Communicating Science:educating science researchers and science policy fellows , Reflection on Pratices in Science Communication Poster, NSF, Invited, Lawrence Hall of Science , 2010-2011
    • Phosphatase and aminopeptidase activity in basaltic rocks from Loihi Sea Mount , CDEBI Poster, NSF, Invited, South Carolina, 2010-2011
    • Integration of Animation, Gaming, Virtual Reality, and WWWeb , NAFKI Science VisualizationPoster, NSF, Invited, Irvine CA, 2009-2010
    • Molecular Insights into Plant-Microbial Processes and Carbon Storage in Mangrove Ecosystems , American Geophysical UnionPoster, none, San Francisco, California, 12/14/2009 – 12/16/2009
  • Journal Article

    • Romero, I. .., Jacobson Meyers, M. E., Fuhrman, J. A., Fogel, M., Capone, D. G. (2011). Long-term nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizationeffects on N2 fixation rates and nifH gene community patterns in mangrove sediments. Microbial Ecology.
    • Fogel, M. L., Wooller, M. J., Cheeseman, J., Smallwood, B. J., Roberts, Q., Romero, I., Jacobson/Meyers, M. E. (2008). Unusually negative nitrogen isotopic compositions (d15N) of mangroves and lichens in an oligotrophic, microbially-influenced ecosystem. Biogeosciences. Vol. 5, pp. 937-969.
    • Ibekwe, A. M., Lyon, S. R., Leddy, M., Jacobson Meyers, M. E. (2007). Impact of Plant Density and Microbial Composition on Water Quality from a Free Water Surface Constructed Wetland. Environmental Microbiology. Vol. 9(4)
    • Hewson, I., Jacobson Meyers, M., Fuhrman, J. A. (2007). Sediment bacterial assemblage diversity and enzyme activity across the San Pedro Basin Southern California Borderlands. Environmental Microbiology. Vol. unknown, pp. 1462-2920..
    • cartoon, This is a cartoon called the Carbon Cycle a Leaf’s View made with DADA USC. can be found by googling “Ocean tube” and selecting “Mangrove”, 2006-2007
    • Animation, In conjunction with the John Hench School of Animation: Production, Scripting, Direction of film the Nitrogen Cascade Google Nitrogen Cascade on You Tube to view., 2009-2010
    • Video/ Animation, Supervision of the:

      We have created a one-time fellowship to the John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts to create an artistic piece about the Marine Environmental Biology Department distributed and used in the Web design and focus on student recruitment. , 2009-2010

    • Train Congressional Interns, Developed interactive program for trainning of KNAUSS NOAA fellows in communication with non-science professionals. This program will be used starting February 2011 in Washington D.C., 2009-2010
    • Invited AnimationTemecula Valley Internationa Film and Music Festival September 2011 , 2011
  • Conferences Organized

    • Co-PI with K Smith from J, Hench School, The Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies and the Cinematic Arts, Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, Santa Catalina Island , 2008-2009
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