Research Overview

Welcome to the Damashek Aquatic Microbial Ecology lab at Utica College!

We study microbial communities in aquatic ecosystems and how these microbes affect vital ecosystem processes.

Most of our work revolves around the following broad questions:

  • What is the abundance and diversity of microbes in aquatic systems?
  • How do specific microbial clades affect rates of nitrogen cycling?
  • What is the abundance, ecological role, and physiology of marine archaea?
  • How do human activities drive the distribution of antibiotic resistance genes and nitrogen biogeochemistry in aquatic ecosystems?


We use tools from microbial ecology, ‘omics (genomes, metagenomes, metatranscriptomes), cultivation-based microbiology, and isotope geochemistry to tackle these questions. This array of interdisciplinary methods allows our questions to span a wide range of scales, from genes to cells to microbial populations to entire ecosystems. We try to get out to the field to sample from boats and docks as much as possible!

Undergraduates interested in ecology, microbiology, oceanography, genomics, or computational biology – or anything else related to microbes, nutrients, or water – are encouraged to contact Dr. Damashek. We are always looking for more help on current projects and are excited to talk about potential future projects or collaborations, even if they are different from what we work on now.

Please click through the links at the top of the page to learn more about who we are, what we do, and what we have published.