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



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 ocean systems around the globe. 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.


People                    Publications



Oct 2020


Congratulations to Eric Gann for his paper in Frontiers in Microbiology resolving the structure and proteome of the Aureococcus anophagefferens Virus.

Oct 2020


Check out the paper by Robbie Martin and collaborators, where they show that short-term temperature decreases make Microcystis cells more toxic

Jan 2021


We are looking for a postdoctoral fellow to join our team focused on making a giant virus genetically tractable. Position will be available in January. The project will focus on algae and giant viruses that infect them.  See other qualifications and, if interested, apply at

Jan 2021


Professor Wilhelm was interviewed by UTK Science Alliance regarding viruses in the environment

Jan 2021


A new year brings new opportunities.  Drs LeCleir and Wilhelm are excited to report the NSF-funded REU site in the Department of Microbiology has been renewed!  Stay tuned for more and check in for updates on applying at

Jun 2021


Professor Wilhelm is excited to share the 2021 John H Martin award with Professor Curtis Suttle. The John H. Martin Award recognizes a paper in aquatic sciences that has led to fundamental shifts in research focus and interpretation of a large body of previous observations. Viruses and nutrient cycles in the sea by Wilhelm and Suttle is the 2021 Martin Award winner in recognition of their description of the "viral shunt", in which lytic virus infection of microbes redirects carbon flow to the bacterial community.

Aug 2021   Congratulations to Lena Pound on her successful PhD defense and newly accepted paper in Environmental Science & Technlology! 


End of Sargasso cruise in Bermuda. Team photo with collaborators from the Weitz (Ga Tech), Sullivan (The Ohio State) and Lindell (Technion) labs from October 2019.


The main home for the lab is the

Department of Microbiology


Other departments we are affiliated with:

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology          UTK/ORNL Genome Science & Technology

Earth & Planetary Sciences        NIMBioS

Lab gathering during VME on site workshop June 2021 (100% vaccinated!)

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

updated 09/04/2021