Marine biogeochemistry & microbial physiology

Hello! I’m Natalie. I study the physiology, molecular ecology, and functional diversity of marine microbes, with a special interest in how they respond to environmental stress. I received my PhD from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Department of Marine Sciences under the guidance of Adrian Marchetti. Currently, I am a Simons Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the laboratory of Mak Saito


Marine phytoplankton are incredibly important on our planet – they provide approximately half the planet’s oxygen supply through photosynthesis and influence climate over geologic timescales by transferring carbon from the atmosphere to the deep ocean. Their growth is dependent on a supply of various metals required for biological processing, some of which are unfortunately hard to come by in the ocean.

I aim to explore how variations in trace metal supplies influence metal metabolism among diverse groups of protists through a combination of field-based community experiments, lab-based culture analyses, and environmental bioinformatic processing. By linking the concentrations of bioactive trace metals such as dissolved iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), cobalt (Co), nickel (Ni), zinc (Zn), and cadmium (Cd) with gene and protein expression patterns, I hope to better understand the clever strategies phytoplankton have evolved for subsisting across biogeochemically distinct and highly complex marine environments.

When I am not in the lab, on a ship, or in front of a computer, I enjoy touring historical sites and eating ridiculous amounts of food.