The Aquatic Microbial Ecology Research Group, Department of Microbiology, The University of Tennessee



Steven Wilhelm


Kenneth & Blaire Mossman Professor of Microbiology


Science & Engineering Room 637 (O); 634 (Lab)


      Office:   (865) 974-0665

             Lab:      (865) 974-0682




Professor Wilhelm's vitae



People                    Publications

Research in the Wilhelm lab focuses on the interactions of microbial communities with the environment and in turn how the environment shapes microbial communities. Scientists at all levels work to resolve the synergies between microbial communities and biogeochemical cycles in lakes and oceans. Lab members use biomolecular tools - DNA and RNA sequencing, metabolomics, and PCR-based quantitative analyses - to study viruses, bacteria, cyanobacteria and algae. Currently the laboratory has a specific focus on virus ecology, toxic cyanobacterial blooms and the development of quantitative molecular tools for microbial ecology.


Apr 2018  

Dr Wilhelm is honored to accept the Chancellor's award for Research and Creative Achievement.

Apr 2018   The Provost's Office has selected Dr Wilhelm to be a James R. Cox Professor for 2018.  This professorship will run for three consecutive years.
Apr 2018  

Professor Wilhelm was recently mentioned in an article in the NY Times

Apr 2018  

Congratulations to Jackson Gainer on the successful defense of his PhD.

Jun 2018  

Congratulations to Lauren Krausfeldt and Robbie Martin successful defenses of their PhDs.

Sept 2018   Professor Wilhelm was interviewed by OPB/NPR for a piece on the Microcystis blooms in Oregon that aired on All Things Considered
Sept 2018   Our collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Science NIGLAS group is online at Environmental Science & Technology.
Sept 2018   Samantha Coy's overview on viruses infecting algae is now available in the journal Viruses
Oct 2018   The kickoff for the Lake Erie Center for Fresh Waters and Human Health was a success.



The main home for the lab is the Department of Microbiology at the University of Tennessee. 


Other departments we are affiliated with:

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology    

UTK/ORNL Program in Genome Science and Technology  

Earth & Planetary Sciences

Lab gathering to celebrate Jackson's successful PhD defense. April 2018


Graduate student alumni


Robbie M. Martin

Ecological constraints of toxic cyanobacterial blooms (Ph.D. 2018)

Lauren E. Krausfeldt

Molecular characterization of factors constraining the success and toxicity of Microcystis blooms (Ph.D. 2018)

P. Jackson Gainer

Microbial interactions in the North Pacific Ocean (Ph. D. 2018)

Joshua M. A. Stough

Prediction of host-microbe interactions from community high-throughput sequencing data (Ph.D. 2017)

Mohammad Moniruzzaman

Molecular and ecological aspects of interactions between Aureococcus anophagefferens and its giant virus (Ph.D. 2016)

Morgan Steffen 

Systems biology of Microcystis blooms (Ph.D. 2014)

Shafer Belisle 

Urea as a nutrient source for Lake Erie blooms (M.Sc. 2014)

Tiana Pimentel 

Environmental constraints on cyanomyophage in the Pacific Ocean (M.Sc. 2013)

Claire Campbell

The effects of nutrient limitation and cyanophage on heterotrophic microbial diversity (M.Sc. 2012)

Audrey Matteson

Quantification and ecological perspectives on cyanophage and aquatic viruses (Ph.D. 2011)

Matthew Saxton   

Constraints on primary production in Lake Erie (Ph.D. 2011)

Star Loar  

Seasonal Variation in Lake Erie picoplankton (M.Sc. 2009)

Janet Rowe 

Ecological aspects of viruses in marine systems (Ph.D. 2008)

Johanna Rinta-Kanto

Biogeography and genetic diversity of toxin producing cyanobacteria in a Laurentian Great Lake (PhD. 2006)

Leo Poorvin

The role of viruses in Fe cycling in the World's oceans (Ph.D. 2005)

Julie L. Higgins

Virus dynamics in high nutrient - low chlorophyll marine surface waters (M.Sc. 2005)

Cecile E. Mioni

Using a bioluminescent bacterial bioreporter to assess iron bioavailability in the ocean (Ph.D. 2004)

Melanie Eldridge

The effects of Fe on plankton in HNLC regions of the world's oceans (Ph.D. 2004)

Amanda L. Dean

The dynamics, distribution, and activity of viruses in Lake Erie (M.Sc. 2004)

Shannon Pedigo-Eftland

The effects of iron on growth and physiology of the cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa (M.Sc. 2004)

Johanna Rinta-Kanto

The effects of viral size class enrichments on microbial communities in marine systems   (M.Sc. 2001)

For information on strains, isolates or constructs, please contact Professor Wilhelm

updated 01/16/2019