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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

$802,568.00 Nov 2015 Novel Fine-Scale Insights into Marine Nutrient Flow Via Chemical Fingerprinting and Imaging Research Foundation of State University of New York
$690,742.00 Oct 2015 Matthew Sullivan Investigator Award Ohio State University, Office of Sponsored Programs
More Grants
Courtesy of Scott Gifford


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

Jon leads the foundation’s Marine Microbiology Initiative with the goal of supporting development of new paradigms and technologies to understand marine microbial communities and their influence…

Sara Bender, Ph.D., Program Officer, Marine Microbiology Initiative

Sara is a program officer in the foundation’s Marine Microbiology Initiative. She is interested in unraveling the complexities of marine microbial community composition and interactions through …

Kelly Canesi, Program Associate, Marine Microbiology Initiative

Kelly is the Program Associate for the Marine Microbiology Initiative in the Science Program.   Previously, Kelly attended the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island w…

Adam Jones, Ph.D., Program Officer, Marine Microbiology Initiative

Adam is a program officer with the Moore Foundation's Marine Microbiology Initiative.  Prior to joining the foundation, Adam was an AAAS science and technology policy fellow at the State Departm…