Oregon State University

Past Members

Former Ph.D. Students:


Dr. Rory Welsh

Rory's research focused on an unusual group of predatory bacteria, BacteriovoraxBacteriovorax prey exclusively on wide range of gram negative bacteria including many known pathogens. These bacteria have a biphasic lifestyle which consist of an attack-phase: fast free-living, highly motile predators; and growth-phase: the intercellular non-motile, replicative cells. I am interested in studying the role of Bacteriovorax in altering or maintaining the structure and the function of microbial communities that exist on and within living organisms.  Recently I had the opportunity to take part in a research expedition in Antarctica with fellow OSU researcher Dr. Andrew Thurber to study soft sediment benthic communities. My main research goal was to add a targeted metagenomics approach to the microbial ecology aspects of the Antarctica research project. I was also able to sample for previously undetected strains of the unique Bacteriovorax predators while SCUBA diving under the ice.

Curriculum Vitae

Google Scholar 



Nitzan Soffer

Nitzan's PhD research focused on viruses associated with diseased corals. Specifically, she analyzed viral metagenomes from corals with signs of white plague disease and/or bleaching from the US Virgin Islands using a combination of fieldwork (SCUBA), molecular lab work and bioinformatics. Among other discoveries, she found strong associations with a specific group of eukaryotic ssDNA viruses and white plague infected Montastraea annularis corals (Soffer et al., 2013)

Curriculum Vitae



Former Postdocs:

 A photograph of Jesse Zaneveld

Dr. Jesse Zaneveld

My background is in microbial ecology and bioinformatics.

Current Projects:

HERBVRE - a multi-year experimental field study analyzing the effects of nutrient amendment and herbivory on corals and their associated microbes.  Both overfishing and eutrophication are thought to be harmful to coral reefs.  However, the effects of each factor can be difficult to disentangle in descriptive studies, because many stressors to coral reefs are correlated (areas of high human habitation may be subject to both eutrophication, overfishing, pollution, damage from anchors, etc).  By experimentally exposing reef plots to nutrient addition (slow diffusing fertilizer) or excluding herbivores, this project aims to directly test how these factors affect microbial communities on the coral surface. By studying DNA samples taken every 6 weeks across years, we are also seeking to understand how these stressors interact with periods of extreme ocean temperature.  Understanding these interactions may be important in a changing climate. This project is a collaboration with Deron Burkepile. 

Co-evolution of corals and their microbes (the GCMP)-  this  recently funded NSF Dimensions of Biodiversity project aims to conduct a global microbial survey of the major evolutionary groups of reef-building corals.  We aim to study the microbial diversity of coral skeleton, tissue and mucus at 15 sites spanning the globe. This will provide a framework that will allow discoveries in particular corals (e.g. microbe A is important) to be related to coral diversity worldwide. The project will also culture key microorganisms associated with corals, and use high-throughput metabolic characterization to test some of their biochemical capabilities.  One overarching goal is to trace when associations with particular microbial groups were acquired in coral's evolutionary history, and to see whether this helps to explain disease resistance or susceptibility of particular coral species. This project is a collaboration with Mónica Medina.

Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved STates (PICRUSt)
This software package uses evolutionary modeling of sequenced bacterial and archaeal genomes to predict their contributions to metagenomes.  By comparing mostly uncultured microbes from environmental libraries to their sequenced relatives, it is possible to estimate the contents of microbial communities using 16S rRNA libraries as input. It is also able to use this tool to correct 16S rRNA libraries for variation in 16S gene copy number.  

You can read more on my blog, Napkin Diagram | Contact: zaneveld@gmail.com  | Publications: Google Scholar



Dr. Jérôme Payet

Viruses are the most abundant and diverse biological entities in the world’s oceans, and all marine life forms are susceptible to viral infection. Coral reefs are complex and diverse ecosystems that harbour abundant and diverse microbes including protists, prokaryotes, fungi and viruses. However, relatively little is known about the ecology and genetic diversity of viruses in coral-associated microbes. The focus of my research is to use field experiments and culturing approaches in combination with single cell and next-gen sequencing tools to 1) examine the genetic structure and diversity of coral-associated viruses, 2) characterize viruses that infect coral-dinoflagellate endosymbionts (Symbiodinium) and, 3) evaluate the ecological roles of viruses in these vulnerable ecosystems. This work will hopefully provide novel insights into previously unknown roles of viruses in maintaining healthy coral ecosystems. 

Google Scholar | Curriculum Vitae | Email


HERBVRE | Moorea (IRCP Robert WAN - Tahiti Perles Grant)

Adrienne and sea lion

Adrienne Correa

Correa Lab Website

Email: adymscorrea@gmail.com

Marie and boat

Marie Cuvelier

Contact Info

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