Craig Carlson

Professor and Chair, EEMB
(805) 893-2541
3147 Marine Biotechnology Lab


  • Ph.D. Oceanography, University of Maryland, 1994
  • B.A. Biology, Colby College, 1986


I earned my BA degree at Colby College and PhD in marine science at the University of Maryland where I investigated the role that marine microbes play in governing the carbon cycle of open ocean ecosystems. As a Postdoctoral scholar at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Science (BIOS) I focused on the biogeochemistry of dissolved organic matter in ocean systems. I joined BIOS faculty in 1996 and remained there until joining EEMB in 2001. I currently serves as Vice Chair of EEMB and is a member of UCSB’s Marine Science Institute. I serve as lead PI or Co-PI on several federally sponsored projects in Microbial Oceanography.


Microbial Oceanography is an interdisciplinary blend of marine microbiology and ocean biogeochemistry. Specifically, our research has focused on the role marine microbes play in the cycling of elements through oceanic dissolved organic matter (DOM) and the biogeochemical significance of DOM in the marine C cycle. Despite significant progress the oceanographic community still lacks a mechanistic understanding of the microbial processes that shape DOM dynamics. My groups’ research goals are to continue to break apart the “black boxes” of substrates and organisms. We apply traditional as well as cutting edge molecular techniques to further characterize both DOM composition as well as the microbial community that grown and transform these substrates. The ultimate goal of this research is to establish linkages between microbial community composition and biogeochemical processes.

External Publications

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