Faculty & Staff Directory
Brady R. Cunningham Ph.D.
Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences
University of South Carolina
Ph.D. Marine Science, University of South Carolina, December 2015. Title: Viruses and Metals in Ocean Food Webs: Top-down and Bottom-up Effects of Marine Viruses and Trace Elements on Marine Picophytoplankton
B.S. Environmental Science and Policy, University of Maryland, May 2011.
Marine chemistry and microbial ecology are intimately linked and the primary focus of my research is to understand how these microbial and chemical interactions influence biogeochemical cycling and climate change. Ultimately, these interactions affect the health of marine ecosystems as well as animal and human populations. Specifically, I am interested in the trophic interactions between microbes, nutrient availability, and pathogens. Together, these interactions support the base of marine food webs and influence the transfer of trophic energy throughout marine systems, providing nutrition and energy to environmentally, commercially, and socially important ecosystems. Beginning with these primary observations, my goal is to understand how altering marine biogeochemistry influences the biodiversity of marine microbes. Furthermore, how do changes in marine microbe biodiversity in the deep biosphere potentially influence higher trophic organisms? And ultimately, how do these changes influence local and global marine ecosystem stability?
I approach these problems by utilizing my undergraduate background in ecology from the University of Maryland with my graduate school training in biological and chemical oceanography from the University of South Carolina. My research goals are analytically intensive and focus on the quantification of many trace elements in culture and field samples. To achieve these research goals, I would like to use mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) to quantify trace elements and 16S barcode-sequencing and transcriptomics to identify and evaluate changing microbial communities. Overall, I would link these changing communities to biogeochemical changes in the ocean due to climate change.
Cunningham BR, Brum JR, Schwenck SM, Sullivan MB, John SG. 2015. An inexpensive, accurate and precise wet-mount method for enumerating aquatic viruses. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 81:2995–3000.