Dr. Colleen Durkin is an oceanographer and research faculty member at the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in Moss Landing, California. She discovered her interest in ocean science while studying at the University of Washington, where she received her BS degrees in Biology and Oceanography.  After a wide variety of research experiences, she became fascinated by the integration of genetics with plankton ecology and returned to the University of Washington for her MSc and PhD.  During her PhD work, Dr. Durkin became interested in directly integrating upper ocean plankton ecology with carbon export science, and this became the focus of her postdoctoral research at the Wood Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, MA.

Dr. Durkin’s current research seeks to remain at the interface of biological and chemical oceanography by identifying the links between genes, species composition, physiology, sinking particles, and carbon exported to the deep sea.  To accomplish this interdisciplinary goal she relies on microscopy, molecular techniques, and the collection of sinking particles.   By comparing the plankton communities in the surface ocean with the particles and organisms transporting carbon out of the surface, it is possible to identify the mechanisms that link plankton with carbon export and lead to improved quantification of the marine carbon cycle.