Kay Bidle
Kay Bidle
Molecular evolution and ecology; marine microbial ecology; biogeochemistry

Cook Campus
School of Environmental and Biological Sciences
Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences (DMCS)

Dr. Bidle’s research explores the impact of marine microorganisms on the ocean. Marine microbes (i.e., phytoplankton, bacteria, viruses) account for >95% of all oceanic biomass and their dynamic activities drive oceanic biogeochemical cycles. Yet, we are faced with fundamental open questions about their activity, molecular diversity, and evolution. As a molecular ecologist, he is particularly interested in how specific classes of microbial genes influence the ocean’s ecology and dictate the fate of organic matter in the oceans. It is the genetic imprint of marine microbes and their interaction with the environment that shape how the ocean works and determine its response to environmental change.

His research links the activity, diversity, and evolution of microbial genes to ocean ecology and biogeochemistry. By merging physiology, biochemistry, and genome-enabled molecular biology approaches, Kay’s work aims to elucidate cellular strategies by which marine phytoplankton, bacteria, and viruses interact and respond to environmental change (e.g. blooms, nutrient stress, viral infection) and, in turn, shape ecosystem dynamics and microbial evolution in the upper ocean.