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Stephen Giovannoni standing in lab space

Stephen J. Giovannoni

University Distinguished Professor
Department of Microbiology

Stephen J. Giovannoni

University Distinguished Professor
Department of Microbiology


Dr. Stephen Giovannoni manages OSU's High Throughput Culturing Laboratory (HTCL), which pioneered automated methods for isolating microbes under environmentally realistic conditions. The HTCL discovered many new microorganisms and now distributes cell cultures and DNA to researchers around the world. The HTCL's focus on developing cell cultures as model systems is fostering deep exploration of the "dark matter" of microbial diversity - the microbes that shape global environments but have long defied controlled study in laboratory settings. We study how biology interacts with the atmosphere and the oceans to change global patterns in the movement of carbon and other elements. Our experiments begin at sea, but we carry this research into the laboratory, where we work with microbial cells and genome sequences to discover new cell types and new biochemical transformations of matter. Our goals are to understand how these extraordinary cells evolved, how they function, and how planktonic ecosystems will change in response to ocean warming.

Research Interests

  • Marine Microbiology
  • Microbial Genomics
  • Functional Genomics
  • Carbon Cycle



Ph.D., University of Oregon, Biology, 1984

M.A., Boston University, Biology, 1978

B.A., University of California, San Diego, Biology, 1974

College strategic research areas

Biomedical Science Marine Science


  • Giovannoni, S.J., Halsey, K.H., Saw, J., Muslin, O., Suffridge, C., Sun, J., Lee, C-P., Moore, E.R., Temperton, B., and Noell, S.E. 2019. A parasitic arsenic cycle that shuttles energy from phytoplankton to heterotrophic bacterioplankton. mBio, DOI:10.1128/MbIO.00246-19.
  • Behrenfeld, M.J., Moore, R.H., Hostetler, C.A., Graff, J., Gaube, P., Russell, L., Chen, G., Doney, S.C., Giovannoni, S., Liu, H., Proctor, C., Bolanos, L., Huynh, N., Davie-Martin, C., Westberry, T., Bates, T.S., Bell, T.G., Bidle, K.D., Boss, E.S., Brooks, S.D., Cairns, B., Carlson, C., Halsey, K., et al. 2019. The North Atlantic Aerosol and Marine Ecosystem Study (NAAMES) Science Motive and Mission Overview. Front. Mar. Sci. 6(122).
  • White, A.E., Giovannoni, S.J., Zhao, Y., Vergin, K., and Carlson, C.A. 2018. Elemental content and stoichiometry of SAR11 chemoheterotrophic marine bacteria. Limnol. and Oceanogr. Letts.
  • Zhao, Y., Qin, F., Zhang, R., Giovannoni, S.J., Zhang, Z., Sun, J., Du, S., and Rensing, C. 2018. Pelagiphages in the Podoviridae family integrate into host genomes. Environ. Microbiol. doi:10.1111/1462-2920.14487
  • Sun, J., Mausz, M., Chen, Y. and Giovannoni, S.J. 2018. Microbial trimethylamine metabolism in marine environments. Environ. Microbiol. doi:10.1111/1462-2920.14461.
  • Landry, Z., Vergin, K., Mannenbach, C., Block, S., Yang, Q., Blainey, P., and Giovannoni, S.J. 2018. Optofluidic single-cell genome amplification of sub-micron bacteria in the ocean subsurface. Frontiers in Microbiol. (
  • Gutowska, M.A., Shome, B., Sudek, S., McRose, D.L., Hamilton, M., Giovannoni, S.J., Begley, T.P., and Worden, A.Z. 2017. Globally Important Haptophyte Algae Use Exogenous Pyrimidine Compounds More Efficiently than Thiamin. MBio. Oct 10;8(5).
  • Halsey, K.H., Giovannoni, S., Graus, M., Zhao, Y., Landry, Z., Thrash, J.C. and de Gouw, J. 2017. Biological cycling of volatile organic carbon by phytoplankton and bacterioplankton. Limnol. and Oceanogr. doi:10.1002/Ino.10596.
  • Landry, Z., Swan, B.K., Herndl, G.J., Stepanauskas, R. and Giovannoni, S.J. 2017. SAR202 Genomes from the dark ocean predict pathways for the oxidation of recalcitrant dissolved organic matter. MBio. 8(2):pii e00413-17.
  • Vergin, K.L., Jhirad, N., Dodge, J., Carlson, C.A. and Giovannoni, S.J. 2017. Marine bacterioplankton consortia follow deterministic, non-neutral community assembly rules. Aquat. Microb. Ecol. 10:3354/ame01824.