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C-CoMP Center Map

Phytoplankton Screening

What are the chemical currencies of our microbial oceans? We are addressing this core C-CoMP question by examining the exometabolites released from representative taxa of marine phytoplankton. These collections of organic compounds released from marine phytoplankton are poorly characterized, largely due to the difficulties in measuring polar metabolites in saline water. In this work, we are identifying extracellular metabolites and linking them with their production pathways using parallel proteomic analysis. Knowledge of taxon-specific biosynthesis pathways will help us link exometabolites observed in field studies to their producers.

Fraction Library

The C-CoMP Fraction Library leverages the analytical strengths of liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS and LC-MS/MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, enabled by a novel derivatization method that captures small polar compounds from marine media or seawater by attaching a benzoyl group to alcohols and amines (Widner et al. 2021, Ferrer-González et al. 2021). This approach leverages the strengths of both analytical methods to annotate unknown metabolites with a high level of confidence. The fraction library will be available in formats that can be readily used, shared, and updated by the scientific community.

Bacterial CUE

We are integrating genome scale modeling and physiological measurements to understand the roles of core metabolism and substrate chemistry in determining bacterial carbon use efficiency (CUE).

Digital Microbes

We are building resources that allow effective sharing of common digital datasets for marine microbial taxa. A ‘Digital Microbe’ organizes and integrates 'omics and ‘omics-related datasets specific to a microbial taxon in an easily-accessible, interoperable, and reproducible manner. As a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center (STC) committed to open science, we follow FAIR data principles.

Ocean Literacy Landscape Study

The C-CoMP K-12 research group, which is made up of oceanography, microbiology and educational research experts, has embarked on a large-scale study to survey teachers from a nationally representative sample of middle and high schools. The goal is to understand the forces, both extrinsic and intrinsic to teachers and classrooms, that influence their ability and desire to cover ocean science concepts in their classrooms.

Faculty Fellows

The Center for the Chemical Currencies of a Microbial Planet (C-CoMP) invites applications for the C-CoMP Faculty Fellow program. This program will support researchers whose lines of inquiry complement C-CoMP’s scientific and education research agendas. We strongly value diversity and encourage people from minoritized and marginalized groups to apply. The Faculty Fellowship will provide one month of salary ($40K, including benefits and institutional indirect costs) during the grant year to support research and networking activities that advance C-CoMP’s mission in a manner consistent with our guiding principles.

Numerical Modeling

The Numerical Modeling working group meets every week to discuss goals, progress, and next steps for constructing and curating high quality models spanning single bacterial cells to ecosystems. This group is also working to streamline the model construction process.

Physiological Measurements

The Physiological Measurements working group meets every month to discuss progress on a variety of projects that focus on the physiology and growth of marine bacteria and phytoplankton.

Metabolite Analysis

The Metabolite Analysis working group meets bi-weekly to discuss metabolomics methods using LC-MS and NMR, plans for upcoming fieldwork, and research project deliverables for the fraction library and the phytoplankton exometabolites and proteins project.

Data Integration

The Data Integration working group meets bi-weekly to discuss a variety of topics including software development that integrates different 'omics data streams (proteomics, genomics, and metabolomics) to allow exploration of emergent questions, open science, data management, anvi'o capabilities, and technical/computational questions. This group develops research/science questions grounded in a multi-omics perspective, implements computational tools, and serves as technical support for C-CoMP.


Our Bridge-to-PhD program supports the transition of students with undergraduate degrees and an interest in research careers into ocean science graduate programs. Each year, 4-5 new B2P fellows are welcomed into C-CoMP research groups. The 2-year, paid fellowship program provides sufficient time for students to establish core competencies in their relevant fields while benefiting from tailored mentoring and professional development. Fellows are chosen through an application process that prioritizes applicants from backgrounds historically excluded from the sciences.


C-CoMP invites applications for 2-year postdoctoral fellowships that will significantly advance the Center’s goal of promoting an understanding of the chemicals and microbial processes that underlie the surface ocean carbon cycle. C-CoMP’s research agenda includes experimental approaches, systems-based modeling from cellular to global scales, and data mining and integration strategies.

K-12 Programming

The K-12 working group meets bi-weekly to discuss education research efforts to increase ocean literacy in K-12. 

Open Science

Open science is a central focus of C-CoMP, representing our most effective avenue for transferring knowledge to stakeholders and forming policy partnerships. C-CoMP has an open science policy and has created a publicly-available data management handbook to support it's implementation.


Clio is a biogeochemical AUV sampler. For more information about Clio visit the Saito website.


C-CoMP publications