California Institute of Technology
Marine Microbiology Initiative
Plant Science Collaboration with HHMI
Thirty Meter Telescope
Frequently Asked Questions
What is marine microbiology?
Marine microbiology is the study of the single-celled organisms (bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes) and viruses that live in the ocean. These microorganisms and viruses
are the ocean’s smallest and most abundant creatures, and they
drive many of the chemical reactions that comprise the Earth’s marine biogeochemical cycles (the transformation of various elements as a function of biological and Earth system processes).
Why does the Foundation fund marine microbiology?
Understanding marine microbiology is critical for understanding the ocean’s health and productivity. The field is expanding rapidly as a result of introducing improved instrumentation and powerful new molecular biology techniques for studying genomes and gene and protein expression.
With Foundation support, we believe scientists will be able to uncover the principles that govern the interactions among microbes and influence the microbially mediated nutrient flow in the marine environment.
What does the Marine Microbiology Initiative hope to achieve?
The ultimate goal of the
initiative is to gain a comprehensive understanding of marine microbial communities, including their genetic diversity, composition and functions; their ecological role in the oceans; and their contribution to ocean health and productivity.
How will the Marine Microbiology Initiative achieve its goals?
The Initiative uses a portfolio of synergistic strategies to achieve its goals:
reaking interdisciplinary barriers that currently hindering scientists from identifying and quantifying nutrient pools in the in the ocean in novel ways, from deciphering the genetic and biochemical bases of microbial metabolism, and from further unraveling interactions among microbes.
dentifying gaps in and promoting the development of experimental model systems required to investigate archetypal microbial interactions.
dentifying and supporting the development of key technologies, methods, computational modeling techniques, and theory needed to advance understanding towards MMI’s aims.
argeting crosscutting needs, such as bioinformatics, understanding microbial processes at small time and space scales, and developing microbial probes and sensors.
How does the Marine Microbiology Initiative fit within the Foundation and its Science Program?
We fund areas of science where we can make a difference:
The Foundation's Science Program seeks early-stage work or emerging fields that are so innovative they are underfunded by traditional sources, such that our grantmaking can make a difference and accelerate exciting, transformative discoveries.
We look for opportunities to spark discovery and advance and transform entire fields.
Since it was launched in 2004, the Marine Microbiology Initiative has accelerated the rate of discovery in the field of microbial oceanography. For example, through supporting DNA sequencing and new sensor technologies, the Marine Microbiology Initiative has enabled researchers to reveal the immense diversity of microbes in the ocean and the important roles they play in regulating both the ocean environment and our atmosphere.
The initiative continues to build on the breakthroughs achieved since 2004, and connects scientists from across different disciplines to identify and fill gaps in the current marine microbial ecology body of knowledge.
We want to find some of the field’s very best scientists and free them to take risks, explore and create.
By providing flexible funding beyond what they already receive, our Marine Microbiology investigator awards gives leading researchers the flexibility to pursue bold new directions and discoveries.
General Foundation FAQs
Marine Microbiology Initiative selects a new cohort of investigators
Dec 3, 2012
Moore-supported researcher Nicole King selected as HHMI investigator
May 9, 2013
Marine Microbiology Initiative News (61)...
Cracking open the microbial sulfur cycle using novel stable isotope approaches
:: California Institute of Technology, Division of Geology and Planetary Sciences
A new community resource for comparing complex microbial gene expression patterns
:: J. Craig Venter Institute
Marine Microbiology Initiative Grants (86)...
Marine Microbiology Investigator Awards
Microbial Genome Sequencing Project
Marine Phage, Virus and Virome Sequencing Project
Community Resource Projects
CAMERA (Community Cyberinfrastructure for Advanced Microbial Ecology Research & Analysis)
Microbial Genome Sequencing Project
Viral Genome and Metagenome Sequencing Project
Marine Microbial Eukaryote Transcriptome Project
MEGAMER (Microbial Environmental Genomic Applications: Modeling, Experimentation and Remote Sensing)
Nature Reviews Microbiology
A collection of articles highlighting the latest marine microbiology advances.
© 2013 Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation