E. Virginia Armbrust, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator, Model-Driven Ocean Transition Zones
Professor, University of Washington
E. Virginia Armbrust, Ph.D.’s Website

Project: Model-Driven Investigations of Ocean Transition Zones

The transition zones between the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (NPSG) and neighboring ecosystems, notably the subpolar gyre, exhibit steep changes in environmental conditions (gradients) associated with dramatic changes in the microbial ecosystem. These zones provide suitable venues to understand mechanisms that structure microbial communities and to test ecological theory of how resource supply ratios drive productivity, export, particle size distributions, and elemental stoichiometry. A multidisciplinary team led by Ginger Armbrust is testing three interconnected hypotheses via interrogation of model simulations and direct observations of the transition zone between marine ecosystems.

Bio: E. Virginia Armbrust is the Director of and a Professor in the School of Oceanography at the University of Washington. She received her A.B. from Stanford University in 1980 and her PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1990. She carried out postdoctoral research training at Washington University before joining the faculty at the University of Washington in 1996.

Dr. Armbrust’s research focuses on marine phytoplankton, particularly marine diatoms, which are responsible for about 20% of global photosynthesis. She has pioneered the use of environmental genomics and transcriptomics, combined with metabolomics, to understand how natural diatom communities are shaped by the environment and by their interactions with other microbes. Most recently, she has identified chemical signals that form the basis of cross-kingdom communication. Her group developed ship-board instrumentation that now permits the fine-scale continuous mapping of distributions, growth rates and loss rates of different groups of phytoplankton. Armbrust is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, the American Association for the Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the Washington State Academy of Science.

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