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

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Chisholm, Sallie W.
Location Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Primary Field Environmental Sciences and Ecology
Secondary Field Microbial Biology
 Election Citation
Chisholm has greatly advanced our understanding of the role that marine phytoplankton play in the global carbon cycle and in sea dynamics. Her work linking molecular biology, physiology, and biogeochemistry provides a strong foundation for understanding current patterns and future changes in ocean production. She is currently interested in developing the field of ecological genomics.
 Research Interests
I am a biological oceanographer interested in the structure and dynamics of marine microbial communities and their role in regulating planetary functions. Over the past decade I have focused my work on one particular microorganism, Prochlorococcus, which is a cyanobacterium that numerically dominates oceanic phytoplankton. It is the smallest known photosynthetic cell, has only 2000 genes, and is responsible for a significant fraction of global photosynthesis. My research is aimed at understanding the factors that regulate the distribution and abundance of Prochlorococcus in the sea, and we approach this by studying it at all levels of biological organization from the genome to the ecosystem. As our ability to predict the dynamics of this model organism grows, so will our ability to understand the complex microbial interactions that shape oceanic ecosystems.

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