Steven Giovannoni has a PhD from the University of Oregon and currently runs the Marine Microbial Ecology, Physiology and Genomics lab in the Department of Microbiology at Oregon State University, where he also teaches several courses. His research interests include genome evolution and metabolism of the marine bacterium SAR11, the marine carbon cycle, high throughput microbial culturing, proteomics, metabolomics. The goal of Dr. Giovannoni's research is to understand how dominant marine bacteria function in global biogeochemical cycles. His research group made the strategic decision to focus on pure cultures of marine bacteria that can be studied in a controlled laboratory setting, and uses metagenomics and oceanographic field work to link laboratory discoveries to natural processes.
His work with the Sargasso Sea Microbial Observatory allows him to collaborate with oceanographer Dr. Craig Carlson, as well as Rachel Parsons at BIOS, in a long-term NSF-sponsored project that takes an ecological perspective to understanding the role of microorganisms in the oceanic carbon cycle. The study site in the Western Sargasso Sea (a.k.a. BATS, the Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study) is an example of an oligotrophic ocean gyre. Seventy percent of the oceans are gyres, regions of clear water and low productivity. At this study site, the research group uses a variety of experimental approaches, including metagenomics, metaproteomics, fluorescence in situ hybridization and chemical measurements, to understand how microbial communities recycle organic matter.