Marine Microbiology Group
To improve knowledge of the biology and ecology of marine microorganisms in coastal environments in order to understand the role of these organisms in biofouling, bioremediation, nutrient cycling, coastal restoration, commensalism, parasitism and disease.
The Marine Microbiology Group focuses on a broad array of microorganisms and their activities.
- Population ecology
- Remote sensing of coastal aquatic systems
- Chemical and physical oceanography as they relate to the fields above
Areas of Expertise
- Use of remote sensing and molecular detection to predict the risk of infection Vibrio parahaemolyticus (human pathogen) and other pathogenic vibrios
- Ecology and epidemiology of parasites and pathogens of marine organisms
- Phylogenetic relationships among human and animal pathogens found in marine and coastal environments
- Animal models of bacterial infection
- Mechanisms and detection of antimicrobial resistance
- Research in biology and systematics, diagnosis and disease management, pathogenesis, host-parasite relationships that are relevant to a wide array of agents including viruses, bacteria, fungi, and numerous protozoan and metazoan groups
- Taxonomic and systematic studies of digeneans, nematodes, myxosporans, coccidians, microsporans and haplosporans
- Biogeochemical cycling of carbon and nutrients in coastal ecosystems, especially nitrogen dynamics in surface waters of the Mississippi Sound
- Investigation of the outwelling of organic matter from terrestrial watersheds and wetlands
- Remote sensing technology used to predict densities of marine organisms and to understand marine and coastal habitats
The Marine Microbial Ecology Laboratory encompasses culture-based and non-culture-based (molecular) research as well as public service isolation and identification of bacteria from oysters and other marine animals.
The laboratory houses the following equipment: Zeiss Axiostar Plus compound microscope equipped for brightfield, darkfield, and epifluorescence microscopy and fitted with an AxioCam MRc digital camera and a Prior Lumen 200 light source; Eppendorf 5430R microfuge; Roche LightCycler 480II, Cepheid SmartCycler II workstation with two blocks; denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) system with UVP BioDoc-It imaging; standard-size horizontal electrophoresis system; pH meter; balances; bead beater; vortexer; centrifuges; shaking water bath (operates at ambient 5 to 100°C); analog shaker; micropipetters; filtered PCR enclosure; fume hood; Biolog MicroLog Generation II identification system; incubator (37°C); refrigeration (0 to 4°C); two freezers (-20°C); blenders; Millipore de-ionized water dispenser. Also available are utoclaves, ice machines, additional incubators, a membrane filter station, microarray scanner (Bio-Rad VersArray ChipReader), and a -80°C freezer.
Field equipment includes: an Eckman sediment dredge, a small 9-tooth oyster dredge, oyster tongs, YSI model 30 salinometer, refractometers, pH meter, GPS, two Wildco horizontal bota water samplers, and two General Oceanics butterfly aseptic samplers.
The Parasitology section has a complete histology laboratory equipped with 3 fume hoods, a TEC tissue embedding center, Shandon automatic tissue processor, paraffin dispenser, incubators, balances, manual AO microtomes, automated microtomes, automated slide stainer, Reichert ultramicrotome for TEM, image analyzer, photomicroscopes both bright field and dissecting, microwave, waterbaths, ovens, centrifuges, icemaker and all the necessary accessories. The section also has a well-equipped microscopy suite, wet laboratory, image processing station, specimen preparation work stations, and animal dissection stations are stocked and maintained. The section includes several Wild-5, Meiji, and Nikon dissecting microscopes, several Wild-20 microscopes some with drawing tubes, 2 Olympus BH-2 compound microscopes with teaching trinocular head, digital cameras and imaging software, compound scopes with Nomarski optics, pH meters, balances, refrigerators, freezers, glassware, aerators, aquaria, dissecting equipment, and all the other accessories for specimen preparations. The section has an extensive parasite collection as well as original literature and reprints, multiple offices and benchtop space for investigators and graduate students. We also have arrangements with Keesler AFB Clinical Research Laboratory for animal studies and protocols.
The section has its own 446-square meter wet lab facility, which includes two 57-square meter and one 74-square meter isolation and quarantine rooms equipped with temperature control, light control, and aeration is available for animal holding and experiments. Equipment in these facilities includes oxygen meters, YSI’s, 2-Percival Scientific Biological Incubators Model I-36VL with -Standard Intellus Control System for temperature and lighting, freezers, refrigerators, aquaria, tanks, waterbaths, and immersion heaters.
The Parasitology section shares with biochemistry a molecular biology laboratory. The section has an Applied Biosystems 3130 Genetic Analyzer, MJ Research PTC-200 DNA engine, A Bio-Rad DNA engine (96-well), Laminar flow hood, refrigerator, two -80°C Revco ultralow freezers, -20°C freezer, IEC B-22M ultracentrifuge, Hitachi F2000 Fluorescence Spectrophotometer, pH meters, balances, micropipettes and multi-channel micropipetters, refrigerated centrifuges/microfuges, several gel electrophoresis units, heating and cooling water baths, dry block incubators as well as all the other accompanying equipment and accessories. It also has additional access to a Beckman Coulter CEQ 8000 Genetic Analysis System, BioRad iCycler iQ Real-Time PCR detection system, NanoDrop ND-1000 spectrophotometer, Fluor-S Multimager as well as other molecular equipment and tools.
The Marine Microbiology Group (MMG) is part of The University of Southern Mississippi Department of Coastal Sciences (COA), located at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory on the Gulf of Mexico in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The Division of Coastal Sciences is a research and graduate education department offering programs that lead to the Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Science degrees.
The GCRL has a fleet of small boats, as well as three large research vessels, the R/V Tom McIlwain, R/V Hermes, and R/V Tommy Munro, to assist in field collections at offshore sites. GCRL also has access to the newly acquired R/V Point Sur. Available to scientists and students of the Marine Microbiology Group are a research greenhouse, various sizes of aquariums and aquaculture tanks, and raceways for exposure studies.