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Dr. Andrew Ogram, Soil and Water Sciences Department:  Microbial Ecology
Email: aogram@ufl.edu


Andrew Ogram is a microbial ecologist with interests in linking human activities to shifts in the structures and functions of microbial communities in soils and sediments. He is particularly interested in the microbial ecology of coupled biogeochemical cycles in anoxic zones. He is a professor in the Soil and Water Science Department and teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in microbial ecology and environmental science. More information on his program can be found at http://molecol.ifas.ufl.edu

Goals of the Microbial Ecology component: Variable sea levels are expected to change the geochemistry of estuaries and near shore subterranean aquifers, which in turn will impact the microbial communities that are responsible for critical biogeochemical cycling in these environments. The overall goal of the Microbial Ecology component will be to characterize potential shifts in microbial community structures in response to variable sea levels, and to link these potential shifts to changes in biogeochemical cycles. Specific goals within the Microbial Ecology component include:

  1. Establish baselines for the distribution of specific functional groups of microorganisms within subterranean aquifers and estuaries, with particular attention to those groups involved in nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon cycling.
  2. Employ field and manipulative laboratory experiments to characterize potential shifts in microbial community structure and function with changes in redox potentials and water chemistry expected from sea level variability.
  3. Work with geologists, ecologists, and biogeochemists to provide microbial data and perspectives crucial to a more complete understanding of the impacts of sea level variability on coastal ecosystems.
  4. Train students in modern microbial ecological approaches, including genomic and transcriptomic approaches.


The response of microbial communities to variable sea levels will likely be controlled initially by changes in water chemistry, including changes in the dominant nitrogen source and the relative availabilities of specific electron donors and acceptors. These changes are expected to result in shifts in the composition and activities of the resident microbial communities, which in turn will likely impact the rates and directions of dominant biogeochemical cycles. Students in the Microbial Ecology component will be part of an interdisciplinary team that will include geologists, ecologists, and biogeochemists that will seek to elucidate the fundamental mechanisms through which variable water chemistry will change elemental cycles in impacted environments.