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Courtesy of UH Manoa and C-MORE - tricho puff fluorescenceCourtesy of Armbrust Lab - assembled metagenomic DNA sequence from a marine microbial communityCourtesy of Alexandra WordenCourtesy of Mar Nieto - DOC samplingCourtesy of Mick Follows - simulated phytoplankton biogeography from ocean modelCourtesy of Jun Meng - sampling bacteria in tropical Atlantic watersCourtesy of Jamie Becker - culturesCourtesy of Jed Furhman - epifluorescence microscopy image of marine microbesCourtesy of University of Hawaii - recovering sampling equipment
Unlocking the ocean’s mysteries

Marine Microbiology Initiative

Enabling new paradigms in microbial oceanography.

The oxygen in every second breath we take is produced by microbes in our oceans;they are thought to produce about 50 percent of the oxygen in the earth's atmosphere. Yet, we know surprisingly little about these tiny organisms. While we are discovering answers to long-standing questions and uncovering important new questions about the roles that marine microorganisms play at the base of the ocean’s food chain, much more needs to be learned about what these organisms do and how they do it—including how they contribute to our world’s health and productivity.

The Marine Microbiology Initiative (MMI) seeks to gain a comprehensive understanding of marine microbial communities, including their genetic diversity, composition and function; their ecological role in the oceans; and their contribution to ocean health and productivity. Current focus of the initiative is to advance our understanding of marine microbial communities by enabling research to uncover the principles that govern the interactions among microbes as well as those that govern microbially-mediated nutrient flow. To answer questions about the roles that marine microorganisms play at the base of the ocean’s food chain, MMI supports current or emerging leaders in the field through investigator awards, multidisciplinary team research projects, community resource projects, as well as projects to develop new instrumentation, tools and technology.

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MMI Investigators


Workshops and Convenings

Attribution Language

MMI Evaluations

Frequently Asked Questions

Recent Grants

$255,000.00 Aug 2014 Making genomic, metagenomic, transcriptomic, and metatranscriptomic data accessible via the iMicrobe Data Commons University of Arizona, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
$248,259.00 Aug 2014 Enabling access to a tool for comparing gene expression profiles J. Craig Venter Institute
More Grants
Courtesy of Scott Gifford


Ajit Subramaniam, Ph.D., Program Director, Marine Microbiology Initiative

Ajit leads the Marine Microbiology Initiative team at the foundation.  Ajit is a biological oceanographer with expertise in biogeochemical cycles, remote sensing, bio-optics and phytoplankton phy…

Samantha Forde, Ph.D, Program Officer, Marine Microbiology Initiative

As part of foundation’s Marine Microbiology Initiative, Samantha works to increase our understanding of microbial ecology and evolution through a combination of strategic planning, grant develop…

Jon Kaye, Ph.D., Program Officer, Marine Microbiology Initiative

Jon supports and guides the foundation’s Marine Microbiology Initiative through a continuously evolving mix of strategic planning, grant idea development, portfolio management and community enga…