Nicholas Hawco, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, University of Hawaii at Manoa  

Nicholas Hawco is an assistant professor in the Department of Oceanography at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. His research examines how essential but scarce metals like iron, cobalt, manganese and zinc influence the evolution and productivity of marine ecosystems. Hawco uses a range of approaches — from global scale oceanographic surveys to detailed laboratory experiments with phytoplankton isolates — to investigate the trade-offs that emerge as marine microorganisms adapt to minimize their dependence on limiting resources while maximizing the metabolic advantages conferred by these elements via metalloenzymes. In 2011, he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and English literature from Washington University in St. Louis. In 2017, he received his doctorate in chemical oceanography from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program, where he studied the biogeochemical cycle of cobalt and its influence on the metabolism of the cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus. Before beginning his lab at the University of Hawai’i in 2020, Hawco was a Simons Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Marine Microbial Ecology at the University of Southern California.

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