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Research Group of Alyson Santoro

What do microbes do in the ocean?

Our lab studies single-celled organisms called bacteria and archaea involved in nutrient cycling, especially of the element nitrogen. Microbes that convert nitrogen among its various forms live in the ocean, coastal sediments, and soils. We experiment with these organisms in the lab, look for their DNA in the environment, and measure rates of the different chemical reactions they perform. We try to understand how and when they evolved, how they collaborate with other organisms, and how they keep our ocean clean.

Our lab is currently focused on three themes: niche differentiation within the marine archaea, nitrous oxide cycling, and microbial processes in the mesopelagic ocean. To find a technical description of our research and learn more about current projects in the lab, please visit our Research page or read some of our scientific papers.

Our research is generously funded by the National Science Foundation, the Simons Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, and the UCSB Associated Students Coastal Fund.

I am always looking for creative, hard-working minds to join our group. We are committed to fostering a diverse, supportive environment for research and education. Join us!