Linking genomes to biomes

New technologies such as the autonomous underwater sea glider collect data on microbial activities. Photo courtesy of Mālamalama.

It may be one of the “newer kids on the block,” but the Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE) in UH Mānoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology has already established itself as a leader in designing and conducting novel research. C-MORE is one of only 17 National Science Foundation-sponsored Science and Technology Centers across the nation, and the first to focus on microbes.

Established in 2006, C-MORE facilitates additional comprehensive understanding of the biological and ecological diversity of marine microorganisms, ranging from the genetic basis of marine microbial biogeochemistry including the metabolic regulation and environmental controls of gene expression, to the processes that underpin the fluxes of carbon, related bioelements and energy in the marine environment.

C-MORE Hale, the newest research facility to join C-MORE, was dedicated in 2010 and houses 30,000 square feet of state-of-the-art scientific equipment that will be used in conjunction with an existing modern fleet of research vessels to study the vital role that marine microbes play in sustaining planetary habitability.  The merger of the new land-based laboratory with world-class sea-going support vessels will help position UH Mānoa on the world map as a leader in oceanographic research.

As a global research information center working across disciplines, C-MORE brings together teams of experts—scientists, educators and community members—who usually have little opportunity to interact, facilitating the creation and dissemination of a new understanding of the critically important role of marine microbes in global habitability. Research at C-MORE is organized around four interconnected themes: (Theme I) microbial biodiversity, (Theme II) metabolism and C-N-P-energy flow, (Theme III) remote and continuous sensing and links to climate variability, and (Theme IV) ecosystem modeling, simulation and prediction, with the primary mission of linking genomes to biomes.

Another integral component of C-MORE is its implementation of educational and outreach programs. Educational programs focus on pre-college curriculum enhancements, in service teacher training and formal undergraduate/graduate and post-doctoral programs to prepare the next generation of microbial oceanographers. C-MORE also has plans to maintain creative outreach programs to help diffuse the new knowledge gained into society at large including policymakers. All of C-MORE’s activities will be dispersed among five partner institutions: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, University of California at Santa Cruz and Oregon State University.

For more information on C-MORE, visit:

Top photo: Exterior shot of C-MORE Hale