About My Science

My research interests lie in understanding the forces that shape bacterial community structures and dynamics, microbial diversity, and the roles of microbes in biogeochemical fluxes. I want to integrate genomic analysis with an understanding of the functional properties that connect microbial and abiotic ecosystem processes. Combining molecular biology with oceanographic tools and ecological concepts will refine our understanding of relationships between community diversity and ecosystem function.

            My work has involved combining microscopy, fluorescent in-situ hybridization and microautoradiography, and flow cytometry coupled with radio-labeled compounds to examine cell-specific uptake by some of the major groups of heterotrophic and marine cyanobacteria.  I have also used genomics and high-throughput sequencing technologies to study the seasonal variation of microorganisms associated with the Giant kelp species Macrocystis pyrifera in Monterey Bay, CA. An important part of this research program was to determine the time-dependent changes in microbial community composition in order to learn the physical, chemical, and biological factors regulating their composition. Studying the interactions of aquatic bacteria with surfaces, including living organisms, is key to understanding their physiological adaptations and population dynamics, as well as their contribution to biogeochemical cycles.

            I am currently a postdoctoral fellow in Mike Rappe’s lab. My work at CMORE will address specific hypotheses regarding the physiological characteristics of bacterial isolates derived from their whole genome sequences. Some of my projects will be to examine the growth of bacterial isolates possessing the genetic potential for phototrophy, in both light and dark incubations, in order to measure parameters that would be of primary interest to biological oceanographers. 

Vanessa Michelou
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Department of Oceanography &
Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education
1950 East West Rd.
Honolulu, HI 96822
(919) 475-3056