As a native of eastern North Carolina, I grew up surrounded by picturesque marine ecosystems and became interested in the biology and chemistry occurring within them. After completing a BS in biology, I became fascinated by marine bacterioplankton, esp. cyanobacteria, and nutrient cycling – and received a PhD in Ocean Sciences from UC Santa Cruz, as well as worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and University of Copenhagen. Currently, I am an Associate Professor in the Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences Department at NC State leading a marine & aquatic microbiology research lab, alongside teaching courses in marine biology and microbiology. I am also a faculty member of the NCSU Microbiology Program. Ongoing research within the Paerl Lab at NCSU focuses on oceanic vitamin B1 (thiamin) cycling and its role in plankton interactions; cyanobacterial diversity, metabolism, and ecosystem impacts in freshwater to marine habitats; and novel applications of flow cytometry – including sorting flow cytometry (https://microfacs.wordpress.ncsu.edu/).
PhD Ocean Sciences UC Santa Cruz 2011
BS Biology University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 2004
Area(s) of Expertise
My research interests focus on improving our current understanding of marine/aquatic microbial ecology, physiology, metabolism, diversity, and biogeography. Problems and questions related to nutrient cycling (production, assimilation, and transformation) are of particular interest. Students in my lab will conduct in-field and/or laboratory-based experiments and employ traditional (cell isolation, culturing) as well as modern molecular techniques (qPCR, PCR, nucleic acid sequencing, isotopic tracing) to test hypotheses.