Microbial Ecology and Evolution at the University of Washington

The University of Washington is home to a large, dynamic and diverse community of scientists engaged in understanding the ecology, evolution, physiology and impact of the microbial world.

Microorganisms are ubiquitous and are the most abundant and potentially most diverse organisms in the biosphere. They play critical roles in many ecosystem processes and their interactions with other organisms can have important consequences for the diversity, ecology, physiology and evolution of macro-organisms. Our community of scientists interested in microbial science spans ecology, evolution, molecular biology, biogeochemistry, oceanography, environmental engineering, genomics, symbioses and the health sciences.

We encourage interested undergraduate and graduate students to learn more about microbial science at the University of Washington by contacting any of the faculty listed below. We are in a variety of departments. Prospective graduate students should consult individual department guidelines for admission details.


Seana DavidsonSeana Davidson
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Jody DemingJody Deming
School of Oceanography

Extremophiles from cold and deep environments, particle-associated and benthic microbiology

Russ HerwigRuss Herwig
School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences

Claire Horner-DevineClaire Horner-Devine
School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences

Ben KerrBen Kerr
Department of Biology

John LeighJohn Leigh
Department of Microbiology

Mary LidstromMary Lidstrom
Department of Chemical Engineering/Department of Microbiology

Gabrielle Rocap
School of Oceanography

Bob Morris
School of Oceanography


The following seminar series maybe of interest:

Photo Gallery

Pirellula cells attached to diatomGroup-specific fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) of Pirellula cells attached to a diatom. Autofluorescence of a diatom (left, large circles) and probe positive cells (left, small circles), DAPI staining particles (center), and merged probe and DAPI images (right).

Worm cellsDepicted at right are two different populations of bacteria that inhabit the nephridia (kidneys) of earthworms.

Mobile laboratory for field work in Brazil as part of a diversity study of earthworm bacterial symbionts.