Zackary Johnson

Arthur P. Kaupe Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology in Marine Science

135 Duke Marine Lab Rd., Duke Marine Laboratory, Beaufort, NC 28516
(252) 504-7543
Our group broadly studies the abundance, diversity and activity of marine microbes. We are biological oceanographers, marine molecular ecologists, marine microbiologists and biogeochemists.  Our research focuses on the marine cyanobacteria Prochlorococcus, the most abundant phytoplankton in the open oceans and an excellent model marine microbe, as well as the biotechnological applications of marine microalgae.  We are at the Marine Laboratory as part of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University.


  • Ph.D., Duke University 2004

  • B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1994

He, Y, Sen, B, Shang, J, He, Y, Xie, N, Zhang, Y, Zhang, J, Johnson, ZI, and Wang, G. "Seasonal influence of scallop culture on nutrient flux, bacterial pathogens and bacterioplankton diversity across estuaries off the Bohai Sea Coast of Northern China." Marine pollution bulletin 124, no. 1 (November 2017): 411-420. 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

Liu, Y, Singh, P, Liang, Y, Li, J, Xie, N, Song, Z, Daroch, M, Leng, K, Johnson, ZI, and Wang, G. "Abundance and Molecular Diversity of Thraustochytrids in Coastal Waters of Southern China." FEMS microbiology ecology (May 18, 2017). Full Text

Gainer, PJ, Pound, HL, Larkin, AA, LeCleir, GR, DeBruyn, JM, Zinser, ER, Johnson, ZI, and Wilhelm, SW. "Contrasting seasonal drivers of virus abundance and production in the North Pacific Ocean." PloS one 12, no. 9 (January 2017): e0184371-. Full Text Open Access Copy

Greene, C, Huntley, M, Archibald, I, Gerber, L, Sills, D, Granados, J, Tester, J, Beal, C, Walsh, M, Bidigare, R, Brown, S, Cochlan, W, Johnson, Z, Lei, XG, Machesky, S, Redalje, D, Richardon, R, Kiron, V, and Corless, V. "Marine Microalgae: Climate, Energy, and Food Security from the Sea." Oceanography 29, no. 4 (December 4, 2016). Full Text

Walsh, MJ, Gerber Van Doren, L, Sills, DL, Archibald, I, Beal, CM, Lei, XG, Huntley, ME, Johnson, Z, and Greene, CH. "Algal food and fuel coproduction can mitigate greenhouse gas emissions while improving land and water-use efficiency." Environmental Research Letters 11, no. 11 (November 1, 2016): 114006-114006. Full Text

Larkin, AA, Blinebry, SK, Howes, C, Lin, Y, Loftus, SE, Schmaus, CA, Zinser, ER, and Johnson, ZI. "Niche partitioning and biogeography of high light adapted Prochlorococcus across taxonomic ranks in the North Pacific." The ISME journal 10, no. 7 (July 2016): 1555-1567. 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


Collaborative Research: Ocean Acidification: microbes as sentinels of adaptive responses to multiple stressors awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2017

Large-Scale Production of Fuels and Feed from Marine Microalgae awarded by Cornell University (Principal Investigator). 2011 to 2015

Collaborative Research: Seasonal and Decadal Changes in Temperature Drive Prochlorococcus Ecotype Distribution Patterns awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2010 to 2015

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