Bethany Jenkins

Bethany Jenkins
The University of Rhode Island
Cell and Molecular Biology and Oceanography
316 Morrill Hall
Fields of interest
Trace metal biogeochemistry, Nutrient metabolism in marine microorganisms, Molecular tools for understanding climate change.
Description of scientific projects
I am interested in how the biochemical capabilities of microbial communities influences biogeochemical cycles and food webs in aquatic environments. I am also interested in how the biochemical potential of marine microbes relates to their ecological roles. I am addressing this question using a combination of molecular, genomic and biochemical approaches. One facet of my research focuses on how the dynamics of nutrient cycling--in particular nitrogenous compounds--influences the structure of microbial populations. Another area of my research uses directed genomic and biochemical approaches to address how changes in the environment induce microbial responses that profoundly impact the marine ecosystem, such as the uptake of iron by photosynthetic organisms, in particular, diatoms. Currently I am participating in two funded environmental genomics projects to use next-generation sequencing technology and proteomic analysis to compare global gene expression in important unicellular marine algae (diatoms) under different scenarios of limiting nutrients that are relevant to conditions experienced in the ocean environment. One project is funded through the NSF environmental genomics program and one through the Joint Genome Institute’s Community Sequencing Program (, with co-investigators at URI and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. These projects would benefit from collaboration with a postdoctoral investigator who is interested in mining large scale data sets from global gene expression experiments to develop markers for evaluating nutrient status in field populations of diatoms.