Steven Smriga studies the diversity and ecological functions of heterotrophic bacterial communities in marine and aquatic environments.
The overarching goals of his work are to elucidate the roles of bacteria in mediating the movement of dissolved and particulate organic carbon in the microbial food web, to unravel the effects of bacterial growth on nutrient resources, and to understand the influence of bacterial activity on the health of ecosystems and engineered systems like those used in aquaculture. Specific interests include microscale interactions with phytoplankton and detrital particles, physiological adaptations for resource patchiness (e.g., motility, chemotaxis, hydrolytic enzymes), and single cell growth dynamics.
Within EAPS, Steven works with Andrew Babbin's group with a focus on denitrification and nitrogen transformation processes in oxygen minimum zones and within coral reefs. He uses a suite of empirical approaches including microfluidics, fluorescence microscopy, anaerobic batch culture assays, and molecular probing techniques that generate quantitative data to inform models of biogeochemical processes at larger scales.