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Edward DeLong has spent most of his career developing molecular biological and genomic approaches to study naturally occurring microbial communities in the ocean. In the course developing these new approaches DeLong and collaborators have made fundamental discoveries about the nature and properties of microbial life in the sea. Discoveries include the recognition of two new types of abundant marine Archaea in coastal marine habitats, the identification of methane-consuming Archaea in anoxic marine sediments, and characterization of the first known light-driven ion pumps (proteorhodopsins) in marine bacteria. Currently DeLong is applying genomics and systems biology approaches to study microbial community dynamics in the sea, and elucidating the various ways that marine microbes garner energy from sunlight using opsin-based photosystems.
DeLong is a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Science, the American Academy of Microbiology, the U. S. National Academy of Science, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Honors include the Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky Medal of the European Geosciences Union, the Proctor and Gamble Award in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, the American Society for Microbiology D.C. White Research and Mentoring Award, and the U.C. Davis College of Biological Sciences Outstanding Alumni Award. For the past eight years, DeLong has served as co-Director of C-MORE, and he will now serve as SCOPE co-Director with Dr. David Karl.