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Gordon T. Taylor

Professor and Director of the NAno-Raman Molecular Imaging Laboratory (NARMIL)
Ph.D., 1983, University of Southern California
NAno-Raman Molecular Imaging Laboratory webpage

Marine molecular microbiology, interests in microbial ecology, plankton trophodynamics, anoxia, hypoxia, biogeochemistry, single cell analysis, Raman Microspectrometry and Atomic Force Microscopy

CV Research Gate Profile  ORCID Profile   Google Scholar Profile
Scientia Publications Professor Gordon Taylor – Marine microbes shed light on our changing oceans

Research Interests

My research efforts have mainly focused on (i) microbial mediation of biogeochemical processes (particularly carbon cycling), (ii) food web interactions among microorganisms (bacteria, protozoans, algae and viruses), and (iii) and linking ecological function to specific microbial community members. Microbiological and chemical exchange processes across interfaces, such as oxic/anoxic, solid/water and air/water boundaries have also been a particular focus of our group.

Microbiological processes are intimately linked to the fate of carbon in the ocean and are responsive to climatic changes. As founding members of the NSF-funded CARIACO Ocean Time Series Program (1995-2017), our team’s research in the Cariaco Basin has improved understanding of current carbon cycling dynamics in the southern Caribbean Sea on the continental margin of Venezuela. For example, our studies have documented a >1°C rise in sea surface temperatures, declines in upwelling, nutrient supply, plankton productivity and pH as well as an ecosystem state changes (Taylor et al. 2012, 2018; Astor et al. 2013; Scranton et al. 2015). Results from this international, multi-institutional interdisciplinary project are also being used to better interpret ocean conditions and climate in the geologic past in order to better predict the future. To learn more about this program, visit its website ( or refer to some of the publications listed below.

Beyond being intrinsically fascinating, the Cariaco Basin serves as a model for other oxygen-depleted bodies of water (e.g., the Gulf of Mexico “Dead Zone”, Long Island Sound, the Black Sea, the Baltic and Mediterranean Deeps, major Oxygen Minimum Zones, and fjords), which are becoming more widespread geographically as climate changes and as human populations impact coastal waters, a phenomenon referred to as ocean deoxygenation. Our group has focused on microbial dynamics, biogeochemistry and transformations of organic materials transported from oxic to anoxic waters. We are particularly keen to understand the process of chemoautotrophy. The reason being that chemoautotrophic carbon fixation is globally important to food webs and can link carbon, nitrogen and sulfur cycles. In my lab, we combine traditional microbial ecological and geochemical measurements with modern molecular techniques, such as SSU rRNA libraries, stable isotope probing (SIP), fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and quantitative PCR of functional genes and their expression, to unravel the interplay between chemical gradients, elemental cycling and microbial population dynamics.

Over the years, our holy grail has been to understand the jobs of specific microbial populations across wide-ranging geochemical seascapes. Making such linkages improves inferences about the role of specific microorganisms discovered within massive genomic databases. To that end, we have built an exciting new analytical facility within SoMAS – the NAno-Raman Molecular Imaging Laboratory (opened Jan 2014), through NSF’s Major Research Instrumentation funding. NARMIL houses a novel, state-of-the-art Renishaw inVia confocal laser Raman microspectrometer which permits 3-D mapping of biomolecules, minerals, and synthetic materials, while also providing fluorescent, bright field and dark field images. By combining SIP, phylogenetic FISH probes and Raman mapping, we determine identity of individual cells and their activity in assimilating particular isotope labels. NARMIL also houses a Bruker Innova Atomic Force Microscope (AFM), which produces topographic images comparable to electron microscopy, but under standard lab conditions. By coupling the AFM and Raman instruments, we can focus the laser beam on the AFM tip and produce nanometers-scale chemical maps of specimen surfaces. NARMIL provides SoMAS with unique and powerful analytical tools with countless applications throughout the natural sciences, biomedicine, and engineering. We are enthusiastically exploring new research frontiers with these novel capabilities! To learn more about our facility, please visit:


Taylor GT.  (2019). Windows into microbial seascapes: Advances in nanoscale imaging and application to marine science. Annual Review of Marine Sciences 11: 13.1-13.26.

Muller-Karger F, Astor Y, Benitez-Nelson C, Buck K, Fanning K, Lorenzoni L, Montes E, Scranton M, Rueda-Roa D, Taylor G, Thunell R, Tappa E, Varela R. (2019). Scientific legacy of the CARIACO oceanographic time-series program. Annual Review of Marine Sciences 11:5.1-5.25.

Jürgens K Taylor GT. (2018) Chap. 7: Microbial ecology and biogeochemistry of oxygen-deficient water columns, In: Microbial Ecology of the Oceans, 3rd Edn., Wiley Blackwell Press (Gasol JM & Kirchman DL, eds.), Chap. 7, p. 231-288.

Taylor GT, Suter EA, Pachiadaki MG, Astor Y, Edgcomb VP, Scranton MI. (2018). Temporal Shifts in dominant sulfur-oxidizing chemoautotrophic populations across the Cariaco Basin’s redoxcline. Deep-Sea Res,

Suter EA, Pachiadaki MG, Taylor GT, Astor Y, Edgcomb VP. (2018) Free-living chemoautotrophic and particle-attached heterotrophic prokaryotes dominate microbial assemblages along a pelagic marine redox gradient. Environ Microbiol, 20(2): 693-712.  doi:10.1111/1462-2920.13997.

Astor, YM, Lorenzoni L, Guzman L, Fuentes G, Muller-Karger F, Varela R, Scranton M, Taylor GT, Thunell R. (2017). Distribution and variability of the marine dissolved inorganic carbon system in the Cariaco Basin, Venezuela. Mar Chem 195: 15-26,

Taylor GT, Suter E, Li Z-Q, Chow S, Stinton D, Zaliznyak T, Beaupré S. (2017) Single-cell growth rates in photoautotrophic populations measured by stable isotope probing and resonance Raman microspectrometry. Frontiers in Microbiol  doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.01449

Cernadas-Martín S, Scranton MI, Astor Y, Taylor GT. (2017) Aerobic and anaerobic ammonia oxidizers in the Cariaco Basin: Identification, quantification and community structure.  Aquatic Micrbiol Ecol 79: 31–48, DOI: 10.3354/ame01817.

Kang Y, Tang Y-Z, Taylor GT, Gobler CJ. (2017). Discovery of a resting stage in the harmful, brown tide-causing pelagophyte, Aureoumbra lagunensis: a mechanism facilitating recurring blooms and recent expansion? J Phycol 53: 118-130. DOI: 10.1111/jpy.12485

Suter EA, Scranton MI, Chow S, Medina L, Taylor GT. (2017). Niskin bottle sample collection can alias microbial community composition and biogeochemical interpretation. Limnol Oceanogr 62: 606-617. DOI: 10.1002/lno.10447

Rodriguez-Mora M, Edgcomb V, Taylor C, Taylor GT, Scranton M, Chistoserdov A (2016). The diversity of sulfide oxidation and sulfate reduction genes expressed by the bacterial communities of the Cariaco Basin, Venezuela. Open Microbiol Jour 10: 140-149

Taylor GT (2015). Review of The Biology And Ecology Of Tintinnid Ciliates Models For Marine Plankton by J.R. Dolan, D.J.S. Montagnes, S. Agatha, D. W. Coats and D. K. Stoecker (Eds.), Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, U.K. 2013, Quarterly Review of Biology, Univ. Chicago Press, pp. 314-315.

McParland, E, Benitez-Nelson CR, Taylor GT, Rollings A, Lorenzoni L. 2015. Cycling of suspended particulate phosphorus across the redoxcline of the Cariaco Basin. Mar. Chem. 176: 64-74.

Rodriguez-Mora M, Scranton M, Taylor GT, Chistoserdov A. 2015. The dynamics of the bacterial diversity in the redox transition and anoxic zones of the Cariaco Basin assessed by massively parallel tag sequencing. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 91: doi: 10.1093/femsec/fiv088.

Liu L, Lwiza KMM Taylor GT (2015). Importance of the bacterial dynamics in model simulations of seasonal hypoxia.  Cont. Shelf Res. 105: 1-17.

Suter E, Lwiza KMM, Rose JM, Gobler C, Taylor GT (2014). Nutrient and phytoplankton regime shifts during decadal decreases in nitrogen loadings to the urbanized Long Island Sound estuary. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 497: 51-67.

Scranton MI, Taylor GT, Thunell R, Benitez-Nelson C, Muller-Karger F, Fanning K, Lorenzoni L, Montes E, Varela R, Astor Y (2014). Interannual and decadal variability in the nutrient geochemistry of the Cariaco Basin. Oceanography Magazine 27(1): 148-159.

Astor YM, Lorenzoni L, Thunell R, Varela R, Muller-Karger F, Troccoli L, Taylor GT, Scranton MI, Tappa E Rueda D (2013). Interannual variability in sea surface temperature and fCO2 changes in the Cariaco Basin, Deep-Sea Research II, 93, 33–43.

Gobler CJ, Lobanov AV, Tang Y-Z, Turanov AA, Zhang Y, Doblin M, Taylor GT, Sañudo-Wilhelmy SA, Grigoriev IV, Gladyshev VN (2013). The central role of selenium in the biochemistry and ecology of the harmful pelagophyte, Aureococcus anophagefferens J. Int. Soc. Microbial Ecology, 7, 1333-1343.

Rodriguez MJ, Madrid VM, Taylor GT, Scranton M, Chistoserdov AY (2013). Bacterial community composition in a large marine anoxic basin: a Cariaco Basin time-series survey. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 84, 625-639.

Sarmento H, Romera-Castillo C, Lindh M, Pinhassi J, Montserrat Sala M, Gasol JM, Marrase´ C, Taylor GT (2013). Phytoplankton species-specific release of dissolved free amino acids and their selective consumption by bacteria.  Limnol. Oceanogr. 58(3), 1123–1135.

Lorenzoni L, Taylor GT, Benitez-Nelson C, Hansell DA, Masserini R, Montes E, Fanning KA, Varela R, Astor Y, Guzmán L, Muller-Karger FE (2013). Spatial and seasonal variability of dissolved organic matter in the Cariaco Basin, Venezuela. J Geophys Res – Biogeosciences 118, 1–12, doi:10.1002/jgrg.20075.

Taylor GT (2013). Review of Marine Microbiology: Ecology and Applications, 2nd Edn. by Colin Munn, Garland Science Publ. NY and London, 2011 Quarterly Review of Biology, Univ. Chicago Press, 88(2), 144.

Orsi W, Edgcomb V, Faria J, Foissner W, Fowle WH, Hohmann T, Suarez P, Taylor C, Taylor GT, Vďačný P & Epstein SS (2012). Class Cariacotrichea, a novel ciliate taxon from the anoxic Cariaco Basin,Venezuela. Internat’l Jour System Evolutionary Microbio. 62: 1425–1433.

Podlaska A, Wakeham SG, Fanning K, Taylor GT (2012). Microbial community structure and chemoautotrophic activity in the oxygen minimum zone of the eastern tropical North Pacific. Deep-Sea Res. I, 66: 77-89.

Taylor GT, Muller-Karger F, Thunell RC, Scranton MI, Astor Y, Varela R, Troccoli-Ghinaglia L, Lorenzoni L, Fanning KA, Hameed S, Doherty O (2012). Ecosystem response to global climate change in the southern Caribbean Sea. Featured Article in Proc. Nat’l. Acad. Sci. (USA) 109(47): 19315-19320.

Wakeham SG, Turich C, Schubotz F, Podlaska A, Li XN, Varela R, Astor Y, Saenz J, Rush D, Sinninghe Damsté J, Summons RE, Scranton MI, Taylor GT, Hinrichs K-U (2012). Biomarkers, chemistry and microbiology show chemoautotrophy in a multilayer chemocline in the Cariaco Basin. Deep-Sea Res. 63: 133-156.

Li XN, Taylor GT, Astor Y, Varela R, Scranton MI (2012). The conundrum between chemoautotrophic production and oxidant and reductant supply: a case study from the Cariaco Basin. Deep-Sea Res. I, 61: 1-10.

Li XN, Taylor GT, Astor Y, Varela R, Scranton MI (2012). Response to comment on ‘The conundrum between chemoautotrophic production and reductant and oxidant supply: A case study from the Cariaco Basin’. Deep-Sea Res. I 70:106-108.

Finiguerra MB, Escribano DF, Taylor GT (2011). Light-independent mechanisms of virion inactivation in coastal marine systems. Hydrobiologia, 665: 51-66.

Edgcomb V, Orsi W, Taylor GT, Vdacny P, Taylor C, Suarez P, Epstein S (2011). Accessing marine protists from the anoxic Cariaco Basin. J. Int Soc Microb Ecol. 5(8): 1237-1241.

Edgcomb V, Orsi W, Bunge J, Jeon SO, Christen R, Leslin C, Holder M, Taylor GT, Suarez P, Varela R, Epstein S (2011). Protistan microbial observatory in the Cariaco Basin, Caribbean. I. Pyrosequencing vs Sanger insights into species richness. J Int Soc Microb Ecol. 5(8): 1344-1356.

Orsi W, Edgcomb V, Jeon SO, Bunge J, Taylor GT, Varela R, Epstein S (2011). Protistan microbial observatory in the Cariaco Basin, Caribbean. II. Habitat specialization. J Int Soc Microb Ecol. 5(8): 1357-1373.

Wakeham SG, Turich C, Taylor GT, Podlaska A, Scranton MI, Li XN, Varela R, Astor Y (2010). Mid-chain methoxylated fatty acids within the chemocline of the Cariaco Basin: a chemoautotrophic source? Organic Geochem. 41:498-512.

Taylor GT, Thunell RC, Varela R, Benitez-Nelson C & Scranton MI (2009). Hydrolytic ectoenzyme activity associated with suspended and sinking organic particles above and within the anoxic Cariaco Basin. Deep-Sea Res. I, 56: 1266-1283.

Panzeca C, Beck AJ, Tovar-Sanchez A, Segovio-Zavala J, Gobler CJ, Taylor GT, Sañudo-Wilhelmy SA (2009). Distributions of dissolved vitamin B12 and Co in coastal and open-ocean marine systems. Estuar. Coastal Shelf Sci. 85: 223–230.

Lin X, Scranton MI, Chistoserdov AY, Varela R, Taylor GT (2008). Spatiotemporal dynamics of bacterial populations in the anoxic Cariaco Basin.  Limnol Oceanogr. 53(1): 37-51.

Panzeca C, Beck AJ, LeBlanc K, Taylor GT, Hutchins DA, Sañudo-Wilhelmy SA (2008). Potential cobalt limitation of vitamin B12 synthesis in the North Atlantic Ocean. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 22: GB2029, doi:10.1029/2007GB003124

Taylor GT & Sullivan CW (2008). Vitamin B12 and cobalt cycling among diatoms and bacteria in Antarctic sea ice microbial communities. Limnol. Oceanogr. 53: 1862-1877.

Li XN, Taylor GT, Astor Y, Scranton MI (2008). Sulfur speciation in the Cariaco Basin with reference to chemoautotrophic production. Mar. Chem. 112: 53-64.

Lin X, Scranton MI, Varela R, Chistoserdov AY, Taylor GT (2007). Compositional responses of bacterial communities to redox gradients and grazing in the anoxic Cariaco Basin.  Aquat. Microb. Ecol. 47: 57-72

Gobler CJ, Norman C, Panzeca C, Taylor GT, Sañudo-Wilhelmy SA (2007). Effects of vitamins (B1, B12) and inorganic nutrient dynamics on algal blooms in Long Island estuaries. Aquat. Microb. Ecol. 49: 181-194

Edgcomb VP, Jeon S, Taylor GT, Orsi W, Leslin C, Bunge J, Epstein SS (2007). Microbial observatory in the Cariaco Basin – Dynamics of protistan diversity across time, space, and chemical gradients. J. Phycol. 43: 57-57.

Stoeck T, Hayward B, Taylor GT, Varela R, Epstein SS (2006). The multiple PCR-primer approach to access the microeukaryotic diversity in the anoxic Cariaco Basin (Caribbean Sea). Protist 157: 31-43

SoMAS Faculty Highlight 11th Volume of Annual Review of Marine Science

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From Read the Draft of the Climate Change Report by the New York Times, August 7, 2017 A final draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now. The report was completed this year and is...

2017 SoMAS Photo Competition

The SoMAS photo competition is an annual event where students (graduate and undergraduate), faculty and staff share their pictures with the SoMAS community and the general public. The Photo Competition will be divided into three categories with a single winner in each...

SoMAS Convocation 2017

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In September, we celebrated the first anniversary of Ms. Tanya Zaliznyak joining the SoMAS staff and taking the helm at NARMIL.  Her first year has been filled with exciting accomplishments demonstrating that this facility is reaching its scientific potential. We’d...

2016 SoMAS Photo Competition

The SoMAS photo competition is an annual event where students (graduate and undergraduate), faculty and staff share their pictures with the SoMAS community and the general public. The Photo Competition will be divided into three categories with a single winner in each...

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