WILBANKS LAB

Our research investigates

how the ecology of microorganisms

influences their physiology and evolution 

and drives nutrient cycling in marine environments.

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We work to discover and quantify microbial interactions in natural marine ecosystems over scales bridging single cells to ecosystems.  Understanding ecosystems with this resolution will help us improve predictive models of ecosystem function and discover fundamental principles governing the dynamics of microbial communities.

photo by Scott Chimelinski

Sulfate reducing bacterial cell
Sulfate reducing bacterial cell

Transmission electron microscopy image of a single sulfate reducing bacterial cell from the pink berry consortia.

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"Pink Berry" microbial consortium
"Pink Berry" microbial consortium

Multispecies bacterial aggregate, ~3 millimeters in diameter. Photo by Scott Chimelinski.

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Sippewissett Salt Marsh
Sippewissett Salt Marsh

View of the ponds where pink berries are found in Little Sippewissett Salt Marsh.

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Microbial metabolism has shaped our planet

since early geological time.

 

This engine drives global nutrient cycling.  

NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz and Joshua Stevens,  LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response

At present, our study systems focus on the bacteria and archaea associated with marine particles, aggregates, and biofilms.

 

 Our experiments range from the field to the lab and integrate a diverse toolset including (meta)genomics, microscopy, microsensors, cultivation, and stable isotope geochemistry.

Recovering the CTD rosette on the Western Flyer.

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Marsh sampling!
Marsh sampling!

Lizzy sampling a sulfidic pool in Sippewissett Salt Marsh with collaborator, Roland Hatzenpichler.

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Shrunken cups decorated during a cruise aboard the Western Flyer

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Recovering the CTD rosette on the Western Flyer.

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