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Current Members

Susanne Neuer

Susanne Neuer

Susanne Neuer’s research bridges biogeochemistry and plankton ecology and is focused on the biological carbon pump, its relationship to plankton community composition and surface productivity, the role of Saharan desert dust and deep particle advection.

Neuer has participated in more than 25 cruises, five as chief scientist. Her research group has published articles on the biological carbon pump and nutrient budgets of the eastern and western subtropical Atlantic. They have applied DNA-based molecular techniques to help decipher the contributors to particle flux. Her group also studies the role of sea ice organisms in the carbon cycle of the Arctic.

She teaches oceanography, ecology, environmental life sciences and marine biology.  Read Susanne’s CV

Bianca Nahir Cruz



I am a first-year Environmental Life Sciences PhD student currently studying the aggregation and TEP production of the marine pico-cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus marinus, as well as the effect that heterotrophic bacteria may play in such aggregation.

Ultimately, I’m interested in exploring the mechanisms by which pico-phytoplankton contribute to the ocean’s biological carbon pump.

Kassandra Dudek


I am a second-year Environmental Life Science PhD student. I am currently interested in pursuing research on how anthropogenic pollutants, namely microplastics, at the ocean surface impact microbial community composition and function, or vice-versa.  I am also interested in how phytoplankton aggregation enhances the export of microplastics, which act as an artificial microbial reef, from the surface layer and how that enhancement could impact carbon cycling.

Jazmine Russell


I am a second year Sustainability Master’s student interested in human-ecological-technological systems and how climate change may impact them. Specifically, my research is focused on investigating Arizona reservoir water quality to better project trends under an uncertain climate future and to develop improved water quality monitoring techniques.  I utilize both in-situ water quality data generated through field sampling and remotely sensed reflectance data to gain a more nuanced spatial and temporal understanding of water quality.

Kevin Roy


I joined Dr. Neuer’s lab in the fall of 2015 and started as a volunteer. Now, I am a SOLUR apprentice and currently working towards a Bachelors in Microbiology. Currently, I am working with Bianca Cruz to investigate how heterotrophic bacteria affect the aggregation of the marine pico-cyanobacteria Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus. This will help uncover a bit of the complexity behind the biological carbon pump and provide insight into the intricate interactions between marine microbes. In future endeavors, I would like to learn more about how to increase the aggregation of these cyanobacteria to sequester more carbon, find the feasibility of how this can impact the biochemistry of the biological pump, and the potential as an alternative energy source.

Catrina Shurtleff


I am an undergraduate student with two semesters until I earn my bachelor’s degree in Microbiology. As a member of Dr. Neuer’s lab, I have been maintaining cultures and helping with on-going experiments which focus on the interactions between phytoplankton and their environment, as well as their potential contribution to the biological carbon pump. I hope to explore how pico-phytoplankton aggregates form differently in axenic and xenic conditions, as well as what mechanisms may lead to these differences.

Celeste Delaune


I am a third-year undergraduate student studying conservation biology, ecology, and sustainability. I am interested in marine microbiology and biogeochemistry, not only here on earth but within our solar system, which draws me to astrobiological research. This year, I am working in Dr.Neuer’s lab as a NASA Space Grant Scholar, with my project focusing on methods of carbon export in the early Proterozoic through behaviors of pico-cyanobacteria, specifically the bacterium Prochlorococcus. I will be looking at subsequent TEP production and aggregation, with and without the presence of the heterotrophic bacteria Marinobacter adhaerens and Marinobacter salsuginis.

Jonathan Durkin


I am an undergraduate senior pursuing a B.S. in Astrobiology with ASU’s School of Space and Earth Exploration.  I am working with the Neuer lab through the NASA Space Grant researching the psychrophilic arctic diatom Melosira arctica.  I hope to better understand the habitability of icy worlds such as Europa and Enceladus through the data the lab has already gathered and experiments to be carried out throughout the 2017-2018 school year.

Tyla Kanteena


fgfgI am an undergraduate senior obtaining a BS in Microbiology. I am interested in understanding bacterial interactions with marine phytoplankton and the role of these potential relationships in the marine environment. Through Dr. Neuer’s lab, I am currently working with the MENTOR@ASU team led by Dr. Hinsby Cadillo-Quiroz in the isolation of heterotrophic bacteria from marine snow particles that will later be tested for their potential role in the aggregation and sinking of picophytoplankton. My focus is to assist Bianca Cruz in investigating the mechanistic role of heterotrophic bacteria in the aggregation of these tiny marine organisms to further understand their contribution to the ocean’s biological carbon pump.

Samantha Brozak


I am a third-year undergraduate pursuing a B.S. in mathematics. I’m interested in the mathematical modeling of carbon and biogeochemical cycles, as well as ocean viral dynamics.
I am working with Bianca Cruz to quantify and characterize particle flux via image analysis on gel particle traps deployed at the Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study station (BATS), with the goal of gaining a better understanding of the potential sources of marine snow particles at BATS.

Past Members


Dr. Francesca De Martini

Dr. Wei Deng

Dr. Jessica Amacher

Dr. Stephanie Wilson

Dr. Andres Cianca

Dr. Peer Helmke

Megan Wolverton

Kyle Kinzler

Ian Anderson

Ben Brugman

Brian Eddie

Shikha Gupta

Gwendolyn Hoenicke

Kate Meltzer

Becky Mestek

Alexis Pasulka

Alissa Rickborn

Philip Tarrant

Tyler Sawyer

Ali Freibott

Amy Hansen

Marissa Ivie

Mark Wiener

Kimberly Mohabir

Brittany Held

Cora McHugh

Demetra Hamill

Logan Monks

Frank Keck

Nate Muñoz

Holly Celaya

Maira Nieto

Luis Romero