Maria Pachiadaki is a microbial ecologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Her overarching aim is to unveil the mysteries of microbial life in ocean’s aphotic realm. She is interested in the identity, function and activity of dark ocean microorganisms — from the community to the single cell level — and their effects on global ecosystem processes related to ocean deoxygenation. Pachiadaki uses a combination of approaches including molecular techniques, bioinformatics, microscopy and biogeochemical measurements to address questions on the distribution and ecophysiology of marine microorganisms mediating processes linked to climate change with emphasis on CO2 fixation and denitrification. She also works on the development of technology for in situ studies in marine microbial ecology.
Maria holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in biological oceanography from the University of Athens, Greece. Her doctoral research at the University of Crete, Greece, investigated the vertical stratification and biogeography of the microbial consortia involved in anaerobic oxidation of methane. While a postdoctoral scholar at WHOI, she conducted research on microbiomes from oxygen-depleted systems. She then moved to the Bigelow Laboratory of Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay, Maine, to gain expertise in single-cell approaches. Her postdoctoral work at Bigelow revealed the major role of nitrite-oxidizing bacteria in dark ocean carbon fixation.