K. Eric Wommack
Department of Plant and Soil Sciences
Graduate College of College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment
University of Delaware
Delaware Biotechnology Institute
15 Innovation Way
Newark, DE 19711
Ph.D., Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences. 1998. University of
Maryland, College Park, MD. Rita R. Colwell, advisor.
M.Sc., Physiology. 1990. University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews,
Scotland, U. K. Ian A. Johnson, advisor.
B.S., Biology (Hons.); B.A., Economics. 1987. Emory University,
Atlanta, GA. William H. Murdy, advisor.
Plant and Soil Sciences, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
and Delaware Biotechnology Institute.
Marine Biology and Biochemistry Program, Graduate College of Marine
Studies, University of Delaware.
Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences
PLSC 802 Professional Development
PLSC 467/667 Environmental Virology
In the past two decades we have learned that viruses are the most
abundant biological entities on Earth. The vast abundance of viruses
within natural ecosystems is paralleled by their extraordinary
diversity. It is likely that dsDNA viruses also comprise Earth's
largest pool of unknown and novel genetic diversity. Understanding the
influence and importance of viral processes within natural ecosystems
is the central research focus of my laboratory. The encompassing
nature of ecological research means that the work of my laboratory is
highly varied and includes field measurements of microbiological
processes; quantitative microscopy of viruses within field samples;
molecular genetic analysis of viral assemblages; and assessment of
viral diversity through high-throughput DNA sequence analysis (viral
metagenomics). In particular, the computationally-intensive analyses
associated with viral metagenomics also means that the work of the lab
is highly interdisciplinary requiring close interaction of computer
scientists and environmental microbiologists. My on going viral
ecology research programs span the biosphere and include
investigations of agricultural soils, coastal marine environments,
deep-sea hydrothermal vents, poultry production houses, and the
microbial communities associated with the human body. Throughout our
studies in these disparate environments my lab seeks to define the
abundance, diversity, and activity of indigenous viral assemblages
with a particular focus on uncovering those genetic elements essential
to key viral functions within a given microbial community.