Kai Ziervogel

Director - Ocean Process Analysis Laboratory / Associate Research Professor
Office: Ocean Process Analysis Lab, Morse Hall Rm 136A, Durham, NH 03824
A headshot of Kai Ziervogel, a research assistant professor in the Ocean Process Analysis Laboratory.

Biological processes are major drivers of the ocean’s carbon cycle as primary producers in the surface ocean convert inorganic carbon into organic matter, fueling secondary consumers within microbial food webs. A major focus of my research is to understand variations in microbial activities among microenvironments that act as activity hotspots in the water such as millimeter sized organic matter aggregates, known as marine snow.


  • Ph.D., University of Rostock
  • M.S., University of Rostock

Courses Taught

  • ESCI 896: Top/Marine Microbes

Selected Publications

Shields, M. R., Bianchi, T. S., Osburn, C. L., Kinsey, J. D., Ziervogel, K., Schnetzer, A., & Corradino, G. (2019). Linking chromophoric organic matter transformation with biomarker indices in a marine phytoplankton growth and degradation experiment. Marine Chemistry, 214, 103665. doi:10.1016/j.marchem.2019.103665

Burns, W. G., Marchetti, A., & Ziervogel, K. (2019). Enhanced formation of transparent exopolymer particles (TEP) under turbulence during phytoplankton growth. Journal of Plankton Research, 41(3), 349-361. doi:10.1093/plankt/fbz018

Balmonte, J. P., Buckley, A., Hoarfrost, A., Ghobrial, S., Ziervogel, K., Teske, A., & Arnosti, C. (2019). Community structural differences shape microbial responses to high molecular weight organic matter. Environmental Microbiology, 21(2), 557-571. doi:10.1111/1462-2920.14485

Diercks, A., Ziervogel, K., Sibert, R., Joye, S. B., Asper, V., & Montoya, J. P. (2019). Vertical marine snow distribution in the stratified, hypersaline, and anoxic Orca Basin (Gulf of Mexico). Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, 7. doi:10.1525/elementa.348

Ziervogel, K., Joye, S. B., Kleindienst, S., Malkin, S. Y., Passow, U., Steen, A. D., & Arnosti, C. (2019). Polysaccharide hydrolysis in the presence of oil and dispersants: Insights into potential degradation pathways of exopolymeric substances (EPS) from oil-degrading bacteria. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, 7. doi:10.1525/elementa.371

Kleindienst, S., Seidel, M., Ziervogel, K., Grim, S., Loftis, K., Harrison, S., . . . Joye, S. B. (2015). Chemical dispersants can suppress the activity of natural oil-degrading microorganisms. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(48), 14900-14905. doi:10.1073/pnas.1507380112

Cardman, Z., Arnosti, C., Durbin, A., Ziervogel, K., Cox, C., Steen, A. D., & Teske, A. (2014). Verrucomicrobia Are Candidates for Polysaccharide-Degrading Bacterioplankton in an Arctic Fjord of Svalbard. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 80(12), 3749-3756. doi:10.1128/aem.00899-14

Passow, U., Ziervogel, K., Asper, V., & Diercks, A. (2012). Marine snow formation in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Environmental Research Letters, 7(3), 035301. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/7/3/035301

Martinez-Garcia, M., Brazel, D. M., Swan, B. K., Arnosti, C., Chain, P. S. G., Reitenga, K. G., . . . Stepanauskas, R. (n.d.). Capturing Single Cell Genomes of Active Polysaccharide Degraders: An Unexpected Contribution of Verrucomicrobia. PLoS ONE, 7(4), e35314. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035314

Ziervogel, K., McKay, L., Rhodes, B., Osburn, C. L., Dickson-Brown, J., Arnosti, C., & Teske, A. (n.d.). Microbial Activities and Dissolved Organic Matter Dynamics in Oil-Contaminated Surface Seawater from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Site. PLoS ONE, 7(4), e34816. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034816

Most Cited Publications