Research Team

I study the microbial ecology of marine planktonic ecosystems using advanced technology for the automated measurement of these microbial populations and their activity at the single cell level. I have developed methods for accurate detection, counting, and cell measurement for bacteria and protists in natural aquatic ecosystems using image analysis techniques. This technology is used to study the community size and trophic structure in a variety of marine systems, including the North Atlantic spring bloom, the equatorial Pacific, the Sargasso Sea, the Gulf of Maine, and Georges Bank.

I have used the combination of flow and imaging cytometry to make new discoveries of the relative biomass of the smallest cells in the Sargasso Sea. We work on new fluorescence techniques for flow and imaging cytometry of plankton. Our cytometry facility serves the science research and education community by providing access to these technologies.

Relevant publications

  1. Sieracki, M.E., D. Gifford, S. Gallager, C. Davis.1998. A Chaetoceros socialis Lauder patch on Georges Bank: Distribution, colony structure, and grazing losses. Oceanography. 11:30-35.
  2. Sieracki, M.E., T.L.Cucci, J. Nicinski.1999. Flow cytometric analysis of 5-cyano-2,3-ditoyl tetrazolium chloride activity of marine bacterioplankton in dilution cultures. Applied and Environmental Microbiology.65(6):2409-2417.
  3. Manuel Martinez-Garcia, Brandon K Swan, Nicole J Poulton, Monica Lluesma Gomez, Dashiell Masland, Michael E Sieracki and Ramunas Stepanauskas. 2012. High-throughput single-cell sequencing identifies photoheterotrophs and chemoautotrophs in freshwater bacterioplankton. The ISME Journal 6: 113–123
  4. Townsend, D.W., M. Keller, M.E. Sieracki, S. G. Ackleson. 1992. Spring phytoplankton blooms in the absence of vertical water column stratification. Nature. 360:59-62.
  5. Woyke T, Xie G, Copeland A, González JM, Han C, et al. (2009) Assembling the Marine Metagenome, One Cell at a Time. PLoS ONE 4(4): e5299

The scientific activities of the Tara Oceans expedition, led by EMBL senior scientist Eric Karsenti, present an unprecedented effort that resulted in 35,000 samples containing millions of small organism collected in more than 210 ocean stations, chosen for their climatic significance or biodiversity.