Our research focuses on how interbacterial competition impacts community structure and function in marine ecosystems. Specifically, we aim to couple bacterial model systems with environmental culturing and field-based experiments to study how bacteria evolve and regulate deployment of competitive mechanisms. Connecting the molecular mechanisms of these behaviors to ecological roles will inform our understanding of how these social interactions affect community composition and influence animal and ecosystem health.
The vibrio-squid symbiosis as a model for bacterial competition
How do naturally co-occurring bacterial populations compete for a host niche? We are using Vibrio fischeri as a model for studying how genetically distinct bacterial strains compete for a limited number of host colonization site.
Competition within the biogeochemically-important Roseobacter clade
What strategies allow certain bacterial populations to dominate in a given ecological niche? We are using model Roseobacter species to identify and characterize the competitive genes used by this important and abundant group of marine bacteria.