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 fourth-year Environmental Life Sciences PhD student exploring the mechanisms by which pico-phytoplankton contribute to the ocean’s biological carbon pump. My research interests also involve the microbial ecology of sinking particles.

Kassandra Dudek


I am a fifth-year Environmental Life Science PhD student. I am 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.

Catrina Shurtleff


I am a Microbiology MS student. I have been maintaining the lab’s in-house phytoplankton culture collection, and have been conducting experiments on the interactions between pico-phytoplankton and their environment (clay minerals, heterotrophic bacteria), as well as their potential contribution to the biological carbon pump. I hope to explore how pico-phytoplankton aggregates form differently in diatom and prasinophyte cultures, as well as in axenic and xenic conditions.

Ashley Foster


I am an MS student in Biology. I received my BS in Environmental Science from the University of San Francisco. My research focuses on developing statistical methods to understand trends in algal species and their relation to environmental and water quality data from Arizona’s Saguaro Lake.

Nicole Coots


I am a second-year Evolutionary Biology PhD student who is interested in the complexities of endosymbiosis among marine microbial eukaryotes. I am particularly interested in photosymbiosis and the factors that allow this kind of relationship to occur between unrelated organisms.

Tiffany Lewis


I am an Environmental Life Sciences PhD candidate co-advised by Dr. Susanne Neuer and Beth Polidoro. My research focuses on assessing persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals, and debris in American Samoa. The goals are to evaluate potential hazards of local pollution, listen and incorporate community input, and bring together key players to apply solutions for pollution.

In recent years, I have become increasingly involved in online teaching and curriculum development in SoLS. I am interested in how we can continue to improve the online educational experience, and how we can better support students, TAs, and professors as education continues to move online.

Marc A. Fontánez Ortiz


My appointment in the Neuer Lab, as a Research Technician, is to apply microbiological and molecular techniques to further understand the role of bacteria associated with pico-phytoplankton aggregates.

On a more personal level, I am a first-generation student with a B.Sc. in Microbiology from the University of Puerto Rico – Humacao, and am currently starting a MS in Microbiology at ASU. Although I grew-up on an island, my passion for microbial oceanography became apparent after an internship in Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution through the Partnership Education Program. Thereafter, I have found myself working between disciplines, like astrobiology or biogeochemistry and aspire to obtain a PhD in a related field. For those, who like me, grew-up with socioeconomic disadvantages, just keep striving, open your own doors and always remember your goals and accomplishments.

Britni Livar


I am a senior undergraduate student currently pursuing a BS in Microbiology. Some of my current work involves characterizing different aspects of particle-associated bacteria from the Sargasso Sea, including: growth rates, TEP production, and aggregation.

Past Members



Dr. Francesca De Martini

Dr. Wei Deng

Dr. Jessica Amacher

Post-docs and Visiting Scholars:

Dr. Stephanie Wilson

Dr. Andres Cianca

Dr. Peer Helmke

MS and Undergraduates:

Jazmine Russell

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

Cora McHugh

Demetra Hamill

Frank Keck

Nate Muñoz

Holly Celaya

Maira Nieto

Luis Romero

Daniel Jasso-Selles

Jonathan Durkin

Celeste Delaune

Tyla Kanteena

Patricia Ibalo

Makena Diller

Daniel Johnson

Nisha Velu

Kevin Roy

Samantha Brozak

Samer Aouad

Lindsey Cunningham