MIT EAPS Directory

Steven Smriga

Research Scientist

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.


Smriga, S., V. Fernandez, J. Mitchell, and R. Stocker. (2016) Chemotaxis toward phytoplankton drives organic matter partitioning among marine bacteria. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113: 1576-1581

Smriga, S., T. Samo, F. Malfatti, J. Villareal, and F. Azam. (2014) DNA synthesis within natural marine bacterial assemblages as detected by 'click' chemistry. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 72: 269-280

Smriga, S., S. Sandin, and F. Azam. (2010) Abundance, diversity, and activity of microbial assemblages associated with coral reef fish guts and feces. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 73: 31-42

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Contact Information

t: 617-452-3825





Ph.D., Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego
B.S., Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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