Dana E. Hunt

Assistant Professor of Microbial Ecology

135 Duke Marine Lab Rd, Beaufort, NC 28516
Campus Box: 
135 Duke Marine Lab Rd, Beaufort, NC 28516
(252) 504-7542
My research focus is on understanding the ecology of microbes through examination of their genes and lifestyles. Bacteria are the most diverse organisms on earth and play a pivotal role in planetary cycling of nutrients and energy. Yet, we have a poor understanding of the factors that drive their diversity and dynamics in the environment. The lab's emphasis is on studying bacterial interactions with the environment at the appropriate temporal and spatial scale including the effect of temperature changes on bacterial populations and bacterial interactions with other organisms. Another area of active research is the response and adaptation of bacteria to emerging pollutants such as antibiotics and nanoparticles.


  • Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2008

Zhang, T, Pan, J-F, Hunt, DE, Chen, M, and Wang, B. "Organic matter modifies biochemical but not most behavioral responses of the clam Ruditapes philippinarum to nanosilver exposure." Marine environmental research 133 (February 2018): 105-113. Full Text

Ward, CS, Yung, C-M, Davis, KM, Blinebry, SK, Williams, TC, Johnson, ZI, and Hunt, DE. "Annual community patterns are driven by seasonal switching between closely related marine bacteria." The ISME journal 11, no. 6 (June 2017): 1412-1422. Full Text

Garcia, NS, Yung, C-M, Davis, KM, Rynearson, T, and Hunt, DE. "Draft Genome Sequences of Three Bacterial Isolates from Cultures of the Marine Diatom Thalassiosira rotula." Genome announcements 5, no. 18 (May 4, 2017). Full Text

McMurray, SE, Johnson, ZI, Hunt, DE, Pawlik, JR, and Finelli, CM. "Selective feeding by the giant barrel sponge enhances foraging efficiency." Limnology and Oceanography 61, no. 4 (July 2016): 1271-1286. Full Text

Yung, C-M, Ward, CS, Davis, KM, Johnson, ZI, and Hunt, DE. "Insensitivity of Diverse and Temporally Variable Particle-Associated Microbial Communities to Bulk Seawater Environmental Parameters." Applied and environmental microbiology 82, no. 11 (June 2016): 3431-3437. Full Text

Yung, C-M, Vereen, MK, Herbert, A, Davis, KM, Yang, J, Kantorowska, A, Ward, CS, Wernegreen, JJ, Johnson, ZI, and Hunt, DE. "Thermally adaptive tradeoffs in closely related marine bacterial strains." Environmental microbiology 17, no. 7 (July 2015): 2421-2429. Full Text

Hunt, DE, and Ward, CS. "A network-based approach to disturbance transmission through microbial interactions." Frontiers in microbiology 6 (January 2015): 1182-. (Review) Full Text

Chae, S-R, Hunt, DE, Ikuma, K, Yang, S, Cho, J, Gunsch, CK, Liu, J, and Wiesner, MR. "Aging of fullerene C₆₀ nanoparticle suspensions in the presence of microbes." Water research 65 (November 2014): 282-289. Full Text

Kirchberger, PC, Turnsek, M, Hunt, DE, Haley, BJ, Colwell, RR, Polz, MF, Tarr, CL, and Boucher, Y. "Vibrio metoecus sp. nov., a close relative of Vibrio cholerae isolated from coastal brackish ponds and clinical specimens." International journal of systematic and evolutionary microbiology 64, no. Pt 9 (September 2014): 3208-3214. Full Text

Colman, BP, Espinasse, B, Richardson, CJ, Matson, CW, Lowry, GV, Hunt, DE, Wiesner, MR, and Bernhardt, ES. "Emerging contaminant or an old toxin in disguise? Silver nanoparticle impacts on ecosystems." Environmental science & technology 48, no. 9 (May 2014): 5229-5236. Full Text Open Access Copy


Selected Grants

Ecology at the microbial scale: the importance of microscale interactions awarded by Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2013 to 2019

Collaborative Research: Ocean Acidification: microbes as sentinels of adaptive responses to multiple stressors awarded by National Science Foundation (Co-Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2018

Multi-functional Plasmonics Nanoprobes for Cellular Sensing and Imaging awarded by Department of Energy (Co Investigator). 2015 to 2018

OCE-RIG: Biological activity on particulate organic material in the coastal ocean awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2013 to 2016

MRI-R-2: Acquisition of High-Speed Sorting Flow Cytometer for Multi-User Environmental Microbiology Research awarded by National Science Foundation (Co-Principal Investigator). 2010 to 2012