Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Karl, David M.
Location University of Hawaii at Manoa
Primary Field Environmental Sciences and Ecology
Secondary Field Microbial Biology
 Election Citation
Karl is a microbial oceanographer whose research has focused on the ecology of microorganisms. By integrating observations and measurements at scales ranging from cellular to oceanic, Karl has led the development of a quantitative understanding of the marine carbon cycle and global biogeochemistry.
 Research Interests
As a microbial oceanographer, I have studied the distribution and metabolic activities of microorganisms at various sites in the global ocean from the equator to both poles and from the surface to the greatest ocean depths. Because I am interested in the ecology of microorganisms, including their response to climate variability, most of my research is conducted aboard vessels at sea. To date I have participated in more than fifty expeditions including more than twenty to Antarctica. Research in my laboratory has centered around the ocean's carbon cycle from photosynthetic production of organic matter to carbon sequestration in the deep sea. In 1988 we established an open ocean time-series station in the subtropical North Pacific as a sentinel for observing the effects of climate on the structure and function of microbial communities. This ongoing ecological research has already documented significant subdecadal scale changes in microbial ecology that can be tied to large scale climate variations such as El Nino and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. We have recently established a new Center for Microbial Oceanography that will broaden these efforts to include metagenomics and ecosystem modeling and prediction.

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