Colleen Durkin

Colleen Durkin

Research Faculty

Department: Biological Oceanography



phone: (831) 771-4431
office: 413b MLML Main lab


Dr. Colleen Durkin is a biological oceanographer who is a member of the Research Faculty at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories.  She studies phytoplankton and the biological pump: the process by which carbon is transported to the deep ocean by sinking particles.

I am a biological oceanographer who studies phytoplankton and the biological pump: the process by which carbon is transported to the deep ocean by sinking particles. Carbon is fixed into organic matter in the surface ocean by phytoplankton, so the response of phytoplankton to changing environmental conditions has a direct influence on the carbon cycle and other biogeochemical cycles. I use imaging techniques and molecular methods in the lab and in the field to identify the cellular responses of different species to changing environmental conditions. In the lab, I use sinking experiments to identify how these responses influence downward movement, and in the field I deploy sediment traps to identify which particles and plankton are exported out of the surface and to quantify their influence on carbon export.

Research Interests: 
  • Phytoplankton
  • Genetics
  • Silica
  • Diatoms
  • Carbon cycle and the biological pump
Curriculum Vitae:
Selected Publications
  • Howard E.M., C.A.Durkin, G.M.M. Hennon, F. Ribalet, R.H.R. Stanley. 2017 Biological
    production, export efficiency, and phytoplankton communities across 8000 km of the South
    Atlantic: Basin scale similarity with mesoscale variability. Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 31,
  • Estapa, M., C. A. Durkin, K. O. Buesseler, R. Johnson, M. Feen. 2017. Carbon flux from biooptical
    profiling floats: calibrating transmissometers for use as optical sediment traps. Deep Sea
    Research I. 120:100-111
  • Durkin, C. A., J. A. Koester, S. J. Bender, E. V. Armbrust. 2016. The evolution of silicon
    transporters in diatoms. Journal of Phycology 52:716-731
  • Durkin, C. A., B. A. S. Van Mooy, S. T. Dyhrman, K. O. Buesseler. 2016. Sinking
    phytoplankton associated with carbon flux in the Atlantic Ocean. Limnology and Oceanography
    61: 1172-1187
  • Durkin, C. A., Estapa, M. L., K. O. Buesseler. 2015. Observations of carbon export by small
    sinking particles in the upper mesopelagic. Marine Chemistry.175: 72-81
    Bender, S.J., C.A. Durkin, C.T. Berthiaume, R.L. Morales, E.V. Armbrust. 2014.
    Transcriptional responses of three model diatoms to nitrate limitation of growth. Frontiers in
    Marine Science, 1: 1-15. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2014.00003
  • Durkin, C.A., S.J. Bender, K.Y.K. Chan, K. Gaessner, D. Grunbaum, E.V. Armbrust. 2013.
    Silicic acid supplied to coastal diatom communities influences cellular silicification and the
    potential export of carbon. Limnology and Oceanography. 58: 1707-1726.
  • Durkin, C.A., A. Marchetti, S.J. Bender, T. Truong, R. Morales, and E.V. Armbrust. 2012.
    Frustule-related gene transcription and the influence of diatom community composition on silica
    precipitation in an iron-limited environment. Limnology and Oceanography 57: 1619-1633.
  • Marchetti, A.M., D.M. Schruth, C.A. Durkin, M.S. Parker, R. Kodner, C.T. Berthiaume, R.
    Morales, A.E. Allen, and E.V. Armbrust. 2012. Comparative metatranscriptomics identifies
    molecular bases for the physiological responses of phytoplankton to varying iron availability.
    PNAS. 109: E317-E325
  • Rhodes, L.D., C.A. Rice, C.M. Greene, D.J. Teel, S.L. Nance, P. Moran, C.A. Durkin, and S.B.
    Gezhegne. 2011. Nearshore ecosystem predictors of a bacterial infection in juvenile Chinook
    salmon. Marine Ecology Progress Series 432: 161-172
  • Ribalet, F., A. Marchetti, K.A. Hubbard, K. Brown, C.A. Durkin, R. Morales, M. Robert, J.E.
    Swalwell, P.D. Tortell, and E.V. Armbrust. 2010. Unveiling a phytoplankton hotspot at a narrow
    boundary between coastal and offshore waters. PNAS. 107: 16571-16576.
  • Durkin, C.A., T. Mock, and E.V. Armbrust. 2009. Chitin in diatoms and its association with the
    cell wall. Eukaryotic Cell. 8: 1038-1050.
  • Mock, T., M. P. Samanta, V. Iverson, C. Berthiaume, M. Robison, K. Holtermann, C. Durkin,
    S.S. BonDurant, K. Richmond, M. Rodesch, T. Kallas, E. L. Huttlin, F. Cerrina, M. R.
    Sussmann, and E. V. Armbrust. 2008. Whole-genome expression profiling of the marine diatom
    Thalassiosira pseudonana identifies genes involved in silicon bioprocesses. PNAS 105:1579-
  • Bowler, C., and others. 2008. The Phaeodactylum genome reveals the evolutionary history of
    diatom genomes. Nature 456: 239-244.
  • Rhodes, L.D., C.A. Durkin, S.L. Nance, C.A. Rice. 2006. Prevalence and analysis of
    Renibacterium salmoninarum infection among juvenile Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus
    tshawytscha in North Puget Sound. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 71: 179–190.

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Biological Oceanography Lab