MIT EAPS Directory

Michael Follows

Associate Professor
Secondary Appointment - Civil and Environmental Engineering

Mick Follows seeks to understand how the interactions of physical, chemical and biological processes modulate the structure and function of marine microbial communities and regulate the oceanic cycles of carbon and nutrient elements on global and climate scales. Using idealized theory, numerical models and the analysis of observed data he and his group seek to identify the relationships of individuals and communities to their environment, connecting cellular-scale processes to global microbial community structure. In particular, his team has created a marine ecosystem model that, when initialized with many phytoplankton types whose physiological traits have been determined stochastically, results in emergent community structure and biogeography consistent with known distributions of microbes in the global oceans.

Follows joined the MIT faculty in 2013. He is a lead on the MIT Darwin Project.



Dutkiewicz, S. and Hickman, A. E. and Jahn, O. and Gregg, W. W. and Mouw, C. B. and Follows, M. J. (2015) Capturing optically important constituents and properties in a marine biogeochemical and ecosystem model Biogeosciences, vol. 12, no. 14, pp. 4447-4481

Dutkiewicz, S. and Morris, J. J. and Follows, M. J. and Scott, J. and Levitan, O. and Dyhrman, S. T. and Berman-Frank, I. (2015) Impact of ocean acidification on the structure of future phytoplankton communities Nature Climate Change, vol. 5, no. 11, pp. 1002-+

Levy, M. and Jahn, O. and Dutkiewicz, S. and Follows, M. J. and d'Ovidio, F. (2015) The dynamical landscape of marine phytoplankton diversity Journal of the Royal Society Interface, vol. 12, no. 111

Sauterey, B. and Ward, B. A. and Follows, M. J. and Bowler, C. and Claessen, D. (2015) When everything is not everywhere but species evolve: an alternative method to model adaptive properties of marine ecosystems Journal of Plankton Research, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 28-47

Villar, E. and Farrant, G. K. and Follows, M. and Garczarek, L., et al. (2015) Environmental characteristics of Agulhas rings affect interocean plankton transport Science, vol. 348, no. 6237

Weitz, J. S. and Stock, C. A. and Wilhelm, S. W. and Bourouiba, L., et al. (2015) A multitrophic model to quantify the effects of marine viruses on microbial food webs and ecosystem processesIsme Journal, vol. 9, no. 6, pp. 1352-1364

Worden, A. Z. and Follows, M. J. and Giovannoni, S. J. and Wilken, S. and Zimmerman, A. E. and Keeling, P. J. (2015) Rethinking the marine carbon cycle: Factoring in the multifarious lifestyles of microbes Science, vol. 347, no. 6223, pp. 735-+

Google Scholar Profile


Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology (2013) | MIT Global Habitat Longevity Award (2006) | Royal Society European Exchange Post-doctoral Fellowship (1991)

Contact Information

t: 617 253-5939





Ph.D., School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK, 1991
M.Sc., Atmospheric Sciences (with Distinction) School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK, 1987
B.Sc., Physics (with Honors, Class 1) Department of Physics, University of Leeds, UK

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