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Alexandra Zoe Worden Microbial ecologist and biologist

Alexandra Worden’s research is highly interdisciplinary, integrating genomics and evolutionary biology to explore microbial roles in CO2 fixation. The lab focuses on population regulation of phototrophic microbes with an emphasis on carbon cycling in marine systems. Her group employs a range of methods and technologies, from sea-going oceanography to genomics and transcriptomics. Her lab has developed new approaches for genomic analysis of uncultured unicellular eukaryotes and for quantifying their contributions to marine photosynthesis. Worden sees tremendous urgency in gaining mechanistic understanding of biogeochemical cycles. An underlying principle for her research is that microbes must be studied at habitat scales relevant to their adaptive strategies to determine how their metabolism influences larger-scale ecosystem dynamics. She considers this principle essential for understanding how microbial communities and global CO2 uptake by phytoplankton will transition during climate change.


Marine Microbiology Investigator Award, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, 2012.

Young Investigator in Marine Science Award, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation,, 2004.

AAAS Women’s International Science Collaboration Award, 2003.

NSF Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Microbial Biology, 2000-2002.

NASA Earth Systems Science Graduate Student Fellowship, 1996-1999.

Relevant Publications

F. Ribalet, "Light-driven synchrony of Prochlorococcus growth and mortality in the north Pacific gyre," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. Vol. 112, pp. 8008-8012, 2015.



Senior Fellow Integrated Microbial Biodiversity


Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)


PhD (Ecology) University of Georgia

B.A. (History with a concentration in Earth, Atmospheric & Planetary Science) Wellesley College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


United States

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