Associate Professor

Office: 541-737-4500

Burt Hall

Burt Hall 214

2651 SW Orchard Avenue

2651 SW Orchard Avenue
Corvallis, OR 97331

Profile Field Tabs

Brief Research Interests: 

Microbe-metazoan Interactions, deep-sea and polar ecology, food web dynamics, deep-sea habitats, annelid ecology



Microbe-metazoan Interactions. Deep-Sea and Polar Ecology.  Food Web Dynamics. Deep-sea reducing habitats.  Annelid ecology.

Research Interests

I am interested in how cross-domain interactions impact ecosystem function in marine communities. Through using a variety of isotopic and molecular analyses I identify and quantify trophic linkages between metazoans and bacteria and archaea in soft sediment systems and how this impacts community structure and function.  

Current Research

My current research aims to quantify the impact of what metazoans (animals) eat on the many  biogeochemical processes archaea and bacteria mediate.  To answer these questions I work in two specific habitats that each allow a different approach when studying these interactions.

Deep-sea methane seeps:  Methane seeps provide an unique system in which a diversity of microbial populations are co-occur with a few families of infauna. Two of these microbial processes, the anaerobic oxidation of methane and aerobic methane oxidation, provide a key ecosystem service by consuming methane, a greenhouse gas 23x more effective at warming out atmosphere than CO2, before it can cause our planet to warm at an even greater rate than the CO2 that is being released.  Currently I am focused on the roll of a specific group of segmented worms that belong to the family Ampharetidae that I discover co-occur with some of the greatest methane emisson that we have ever seen.  The goal of this research is to identify if and how the ampharetids themselves are facilitating  increased methane emission.

Antarctic Spionid beds. The biota of the world's seafloor is fueled by bursts of seasonal primary production. For food-limited sediment communities to persist, a balance must exist between metazoan consumption of and competition with bacteria, a balance which likely changes through the seasons. Polar marine ecosystems are ideal places to study such complex interactions due to stark seasonal shifts between heterotrophic and autotrophic communities, and temperatures that may limit microbial processing of organic matter. My research in the antarctic will test the following hypotheses: 1) heterotrophic bacteria compete with macrofauna for food; 2) as phytoplankton populations decline macrofauna increasingly consume microbial biomass to sustain their populations; and 3) in the absence of seasonal photosynthetic inputs, macrofaunal biodiversity will decrease unless supplied with microbially derived nutrition. Observational and empirical studies will test these hypotheses at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, where a high-abundance macro-infaunal community is adapted to this boom-and-bust cycle of productivity. 


2011 - Post Doctoral Fellow - Oregon State University
2010 - Ph.D. in Oceanography - Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego
2005 - M.S. in Marine Science - Moss Landing Marine Labs, CSU- Stanislaus
2001 - B.S. in Marine Biology (minor:Mathematics) - Hawaii Pacific University


OC 407/507/607 Oceanography Seminar

eOC 201 Intoduction of Oceanography (eCampus - Spring)

OC 103 - Exploring the Deep (Spring) 

Graduate Students

Sarah Seabrook (2015-present)

Feature Story

Depth perception: How much do Oregonians value their deep-sea habitats? (March, 2018)


Please email me for pdfs of any of these publications (

  1. Verba C, Thurber AR, Alleau Y, Koley D, Colwell F, Torres M. 2016. Mineral changes in cement-sandstone matrices induced by biocementation. (accepted, International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control)
  2. Harris, D, Ummadi J, Thurber AR, Alleau Y, Verba C, Colwell F, Torres M, Koley D. 2016. Real-time monitoring of calcification process by Sporosarcina pasteurii biofilm. Analyst 
  3. Smith AR, Fisk MR, Thurber AR, Flores GE, Mason OU, Popa R, Colwell FS. 2016.  Microbial communities in the Juan de Fuca ridge’s oceanic crustal aquifer are governed by mineralogy. Geomicrobiology.
  4. Correa A, Ainsworth T, Rosales S, Thurber AR, Butler CR, Vega Thurber RV. 2016. Cryptic viral outbreak in Corals driven by an in situ bleaching event: atypical herpes like viruses and a new Megavirus infecting Symbiodinium. (in press, Frontiers in Microbiology)
  5. Bryson S, Thurber AR, Correa A, Orphan VJ, Vega Thurber R. 2015. A novel sister clade to the enterobacteria microviruses (familyMicroviridae) identified in methane seep sediments.Environmental Microbiology 17:3708-3721. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.12758.
  6. Levin LA, Mendoza GF, Grupe B, Gonzalez JP, Jellison B, Rouse G, Thurber AR, Waren A. 2015. Biodiversity on the Rocks: Macrofauna inhabiting authigenic carbonate at Costa Rica methane seeps. PLoS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0131080
  7. Marlow J, Steele J, Ziebis W, Thurber AR, Levin LA, Orphan VJ. Carbonate hosted methanotrophy: An unrecognized methane sink in the deep sea. Nature Communications 5:5094
  8. Thurber AR. Diet-dependant incorporation of biomarkers: Implications for food-web studies using stable isotope and fatty acid analyses with special application to chemosynthetic environments. Marine Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/maec.12192
  9. Zepata-Hernández G, Sellanes J, Thurber AR, Levin LA. 2014. Trophic Structure of the bathyal benthos at an area with evidence of methane seep activity off southern Chile (~45oS).  Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdon. 94: 659-669.
  10. Thurber AR, Sweetman AK, Narayanaswamy BE, Jones DOB, Ingels J., Hansman RL. 2013. Ecosystem function and services provided by the deep sea. Biogeosciences  11(14), 3941-3963.
  11. Mora C, Wei C-L, Rollo A, Amaro T, Baco A R, Billett D, Bopp L, Chen Q, Collier M, Danovaro R, Gooday A J, Grupe B M, Halloran P R, Ingels J, Jones D O B, Levin L A, Nakano H, Norling K, Ramirez-Llodra E, Rex M, Ruhl H A, Smith C R, Sweetman A K, Thurber AR, Tjiputra J F, Usseglio P, Watling L, Wu T and Yasuhara, M. 2013. Biotic and Human Vulnerability to Projected Changes in Ocean Biogeochemistry over the 21st Century. PLoS Biol, 11(10), e1001682, doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001682.
  12. Bowden DA , Rowden AA, Thurber  AR, Baco AR, Levin LA, Smith CR. 2013. Cold Seep Epifaunal Communities on the Hikurangi Margin, New Zealand: Composition, Succession, and Vulnerability to Human Activities. PLoS ONE 8: e76869.
  13. Thurber AR, Levin LA, Rowden AA, Kröger K, Linke P, Sommer S. 2013. Microbes, Macrofauna, and Methane: The importance of aerobic methanotrophy in fueling a methane seep infaunal community. Limnology and Oceanography 58:1640-1656. doi:10.4319/lo.2013.58.5.1640
  14. Dayton PK, Kim S, Jarrell SC, Oliver JS, Hammerstrom K, Fisher JL, O’Connor K, Barber JS, Robilliard G, Barry J, Thurber AR, Conlan K. 2013. Recruitment, Growth and Mortality of an Antarctic Hexactinellid Sponge, Anoxycalyx joubini. PLoS ONE.
  15. Levin LA, Ziebis W, Mendoza G, Bertics VJ, Washington T, Gonzalez J, Thurber AR, Ebbe B, Lee RW. 2013. Ecological Release and Niche Partitioning Under Stress: Lessons from Dorvilleid Polychaetes in Sulfidic Sediments at Methane Seeps. Deep-Sea Research II.
  16. Zepata-Hernández G, Sellanes J, Thurber AR, Chazalon F, Levin LA, Linke P. 2013. New insights on the trophic ecology of bathyal communities from the methane seep area off Concepción, Chile (~36º S). Marine Ecology. doi: 10.1111/maec.12051
  17. Vega Thurber R, Burkepile DE, Correa AMS, Thurber AR, Shantz AA, Welsh R, Pritchard C, Rosales S. 2012. Macroalgae decrease growth and alter microbial community structure of the reef-building coral, Porites astreoides. PLoS ONE 7(9): e44246 doi:10/1371/journal.pone.044246
  18. Blackman DK, Appelgate B, German CR, Thurber AR, Henig AS. 2012. Axial Morphology along the Southern Chile Rise. Marine Geology 315-318: 58-63.
  19. Bernardino AF, Levin LA, Thurber AR, Smith CR. 2012. Comparative composition, diversity and trophic ecology of sediment macrofauna at vents, seeps and organic falls. PLoS ONE. 7(4): e33515. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033515
  20. Thurber AR, Levin LA, Orphan VJ, Marlow JJ. 2012. Archaea in metazoan diets: implications for food webs and biogeochemical cycling. ISME J. doi:10.1038/ismej.2012.16 :1-11.
  21. Thurber AR, Jones WJ, Schnabel K. 2011. Dancing for food in the deep sea: Bacterial farming by a new species of Yeti crab. PLoS ONE. 6(11):e26243. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0026243
  22. Kim S, Hammerstom KK, Conlan KE, Thurber AR. 2010. Polar ecosystem dynamics: Recovery of communities from organic enrichment in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Integrative and Comparative Biology. 50:1031-1040.
  23. Conlan KE, Kim SL, Thurber AR, Hendrycks E. 2010. Benthic changes at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, following local sewage treatment and regional iceberg-mediated productivity decline. Marine Pollution Bulletin 60: 419-432.
  24. Levin LA, Mendoza G, Gonzalez J, McMillan P, Thurber AR. 2010. Diversity of bathyal macrobenthos on the northeastern Pacific margin: the influence of methane seeps and oxygen minimum zones. Marine Ecology 34: 94-110.
  25. Thurber AR, Kröger K, Neira C, Wiklund H, Levin LA. 2010. Stable isotope signatures and methane use by New Zealand cold seep benthos. Marine Geology 272:260-269.
  26. Glover AG, Smith CR, Minks SL, Sumida PY, Thurber A. 2008. Macrofaunal abundance and composition on the West Antarctic Peninsula continental shelf: Evidence for a sediment ‘food bank’ and similarities to deep-sea habitats. Deep-Sea Research II 55:2491-2501.
  27. Thurber AR. 2007. Diets of Antarctic sponges: links between the pelagic microbial loop and benthic metazoan food web. Marine Ecology Progress Series 351:77-89.
  28. Kim SL, Thurber A, Hammerstrom K, Conlan K. 2007. Seastar response to organic enrichment in an oligotrophic polar habitat. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 346:66-75.
  29. Kim SL and Thurber A. 2007. Comparison of seastar (Asteroidea) fauna across island groups of the Scotia Arc. Polar Biology 30:415-425.
  30. Detrich HW, Jones CD, Kim S, North AW, Thurber A, Vacchi M. 2005. Nesting behavior of the icefish Chaenocephalus aceratus at Bouvetoya Island, Southern Ocean. Polar Biology 28:828-832.