Mary Ann Moran
Distinguished Research Professor 2005
Mary Ann Moran investigates the roles of microbes in marine ecosystems. These communities of bacteria – and the compounds that they degrade, incorporate and release – are integral to aspects of life in the ocean as well as coastal productivity and global climate. These microbes transform organic substances that participate in the carbon, nitrogen and sulfur cycles in aquatic ecosystems. Dr. Moran developed a new way to study these bacteria by isolating a unique marine bacterium from the Roseobacter group, which can now be cultured and studied in a laboratory setting. Her discoveries and ensuing work will likely “revolutionize our understanding of microbial influence on the functioning of the earth system,” saidFarooq Azam, Professor of Marine Sciences at Scripps Institute of Oceanography. On a genomic level, Dr. Moran’s work illuminates the connections between some of the smallest units of living matter and concepts as big as global climate patterns and ocean ecosystem dynamics.
Dr. Moran, who received UGA’s Creative Research Medal in 1997, has helped attract more than $21 million in research grant funding in the past two decades, including an NSF grant to sequence the genomes of aRoseobacter species. Recently, she received an unsolicited $2.6 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for genomic studies on marine bacteria.