Dr. Carlson earned his BA degree at Colby College and his PhD in marine science at the University of Maryland where he investigated the role that marine microbes play in governing the carbon cycle of open ocean ecosystems. As a Postdoctoral scholar at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Science (BIOS) he focused on the biogeochemistry of dissolved organic matter in ocean systems. He joined BIOS faculty in 1996 and remained there until joining EEMB in 2001. Dr. Carlson currently serves as Vice Chair of the Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Marine Science (IGPMS) and is a member of UCSB’s Marine Science Institute. He is lead PI or Co-PI on several federally sponsored projects in Microbial Oceanography.
Microbial Oceanography is an interdisciplinary blend of marine microbiology, microbial ecology, and ocean biogeochemistry. Specifically, my research focuses on the role marine microbes play in the cycling of elements through oceanic dissolved organic matter (DOM) and the biogeochemical significance of DOM in the marine C cycle. Despite significant progress, the oceanographic community still lacks a mechanistic understanding of the microbial processes that shape DOM dynamics. My groups’ research goals are to continue to break apart the “black boxes” of substrates and organisms. My group employs a variety of oceanographic, microbiological and molecular approaches to quantify and characterize both organic matter composition as well as the microbial lineages that utilize and grow on these substrates. The ultimate goal of our research is to gain a better understanding of the role of dissolved organic matter in ocean biogeochemistry and how microbial community structure responds to and controls DOM quantity and quality in the World’s oceans.