Clara Fuchsman

Assistant Professor
Clara Fuchsman
Assistant Professor
Horn Point Laboratory


My lab combines molecular and chemical techniques to answer biogeochemical questions.  In particular, we study the effect of sinking particles on the anaerobic nitrogen cycle using metagenomics, organic matter concentrations and fluxes and in situ nitrogen gas measurements. N cycling is dependent on organic matter. We are investigating the sources of organic matter to the offshore oligotrophic section of the ETNP Oxygen Minimum Zone, and thus have expanded our work to in situ productivity, viral infection and lysis, and zooplankton migration. 

We are also very interested in how the microbial and viral communities have evolved to adapt to Oxygen Minimum Zones, particularly through the use of horizontal gene transfer. 

Why Care About Oxygen Minimum Zones?

  1. All organisms need a source of nitrogen. In anaerobic environments, usuable nitrogen is converted to N2 gas and lost from the ocean. The extent of Oxygen Minimum Zones is increasing , potentially increasing N loss.
  2. The greenhouse gas N2O accumulates under low but measurable oxygen.
  3. Oxygen Minimum Zones and the Black Sea are modern analogs for the ancient Proterozoic Ocean, which lasted for over a billion years.
  4. Microbes in low oxygen environments are under studied and weird (and awesome!)

Areas of Expertise

  • Biogeochemistry
  • Marine Microbiology
  • Oxygen Minimum Zones
  • The Nitrogen Cycle


  • University of Washington, 2010, PhD in Oceanography
  • University of Washington, 2010, Certificate in Astrobiology
  • Swarthmore College, 2001, BA in Biochemistry with High Honors

Recent Publications

Regularly Offered Courses

Graduate Program Foundation Areas