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Jesse Dillon, PhD

Accepting Applicants: 
Research Fields, Techniques & Topics: 
Ongoing Projects: 

1. Sulfur Vent Microbiology

We are investigating the diversity and local geographic variation in sulfur cycling bacteria that form biofilms near small intertidal sulfide vents located along the coast of Palos Verde Peninsula in southern CA.

2. Salt Marsh Microbiology

We currently have several projects investigating the biogeochemical role of salt marsh microorganisms in local wetlands including the Huntington Beach Wetland Conservancy area which is currently being restored.

• Impacts of sea level rise on decomposer communitiesThis project is using molecular and traditional invertebrate taxonomy tools to monitor the response of invertebrates and bacteria to increased inundation generated using a marsh organ in salt marshes.

• Microbial Carbon CyclingThis project is using molecular and isotopic tools to identify key bacteria involved in carbon degradation in salt marshes.

• Sulfate Reduction Along a Salinity GradientThis project is looking at the diversity and activity of sulfate-respiring microorganisms across a salinity, vegetation and inundation gradient in the HB salt marsh. Pre-restoration analyses are wrapping up now and a post-restoration follow-up will be performed in the future following flooding of currently dried areas.

3. Halophile Microbiology

We currently have several ongoing projects investigating the diversity of microorganisms in other marine and hypersaline environments.

• Saltern and Salt Pond Diversity ProjectsThese projects investigate the diversity of bacteria and archaea in naturally occurring salt ponds such as those found in Death Valley National Park as well as salt facilities such as the ESSA saltern in Baja, CA, MX and the Cargill saltern in Northern California.

• Saltern Phage ProjectsViruses and the prokaryotes they infect can be found thriving even in extreme hypersaline environments such as the solar salterns in Baja California and the SF Bay area. The phage projects seeks to investigate host-virus dynamics in these habitats. Part of the project involves the genomic characterization and biochemical elucidation of viral proteins in order to better understand how viruses have adapted to surviving in extreme hypersalinity. In addition, infectivity studies at various salt concentrations will help us to determine how salinity affects infection of the prokaryotic host.


Office: Microbiology Building, Room 302D