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

Beal, CM, Archibald, I, Huntley, ME, Greene, CH, and Johnson, ZI. "Integrating Algae with Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage (ABECCS) Increases Sustainability (Accepted)." Earth's Future (January 1, 2018). Full Text

Prairie, JC, Ziervogel, K, Camassa, R, McLaughlin, RM, White, BL, Johnson, ZI, and Arnosti, C. "Ephemeral aggregate layers in the water column leave lasting footprints in the carbon cycle." Limnology and Oceanography Letters 2, no. 6 (December 2017): 202-209. Full Text

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

Cohen, NR, A. Ellis, K, Burns, WG, Lampe, RH, Schuback, N, Johnson, Z, Sañudo-Wilhelmy, S, and Marchetti, A. "Iron and vitamin interactions in marine diatom isolates and natural assemblages of the Northeast Pacific Ocean." Limnology and Oceanography 62, no. 5 (September 2017): 2076-2096. 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


Selected Grants

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

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