Clara Fuchsman

Research Interests:

I like to combine molecular and chemical techniques to answer biogeochemical questions.  In particular, I study the anaerobic nitrogen cycle. In this position, I have combined  metagenomics on samples from the Eastern Tropical North Pacific Oxygen Minimum Zone with in situ nitrogen gas measurements. Future work includes examining rates and proteins of nitrogen cycling microbes on sediment trap material in the OMZ.

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 should increase with warmer temperatures, 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!)


BA Biochemistry with High Honors, Swarthmore College (2001)

MS Chemical Oceanography, University of Washington (2004) Title: Microbial Activity Evidenced by N Species and Isotopes in the Black Sea Advisor: James Murray

PhD Chemical Oceanography, University of Washington (2010) Title: Microbial ecology and nitrogen isotope biogeochemistry of the Black Sea  Advisors: James Murray and James Staley

Certificate in Astrobiology, University of Washington (2010)  Astrobiology Rotation Title: Vertical Descent or Lateral Transfer? Unraveling the large number of shared genes between anaerobic and/or thermophilic bacteria and archaea Advisor: Gabrielle Rocap


Research Scientist, University of Washington (2011-2012) with Allan Devol

Postdoctoral Scientist, University of Washington (2013-2017) with Gabrielle Rocap

Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, Horn Point Marine Lab (2018-?)


I have mentored two undergraduates who came to the lab through the UW GenOM Project (ALVA)

I also participated in the summer Ocean Intern program for high school students:

I mentored an undergraduate through her senior thesis project for Oceanography:


Fuchsman, C.A., Collins, R.E., Rocap, G., Brazelton, W.J. (2017) Effect of the environment on horizontal gene transfer between bacteria and archaea. PeerJ5: e3865.

Peng, X., Fuchsman, C.A., Jayakumar A., Warner, M.J., Devol, A.H., Ward, B.B. (2016) Revisiting Nitrification in the Eastern Tropical South Pacific: A focus on its controls. Journal of Geophysical Research—Oceans 121: doi:10.1002/ 2015JC011455.

Peng, X.  C. A. Fuchsman, W. Martens-Habbena, A. H. Devol, A. Jayakumar, B. B. Ward. (2015) Ammonium and nitrite oxidation in the Eastern Tropical North Pacific. GBC: doi:10.1002/2015GB005278

Fuchsman, C.A., A.H. Devol, Z. Chase, C.E. Reimers, B. Hales (2015) Benthic fluxes on the Oregon shelf. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 163: 156-166. PDF

Kirkpatrick J.B., Fuchsman, C.A., Yakushev, E.V., Staley, J.T., and Murray, J.W. (2012) Activity of Anammox and Denitrifying Bacteria in the Black Sea. Frontiers in Aquatic Microbiology 3: 255. PDF

Fuchsman, C.A., Murray, J.W., and Staley, J.T. (2012) Stimulation of autotrophic denitrification by intrusions of the Bosporus Plume into the anoxic Black Sea. Frontiers in Aquatic Microbiology 3: 257

Fuchsman, C.A., Staley, J.T., Oakley, B.O., Kirkpatrick J.B. and Murray, J.W. (2012) Free-living and aggregate associated Planctomycetes in the Black Sea. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 80: 402-416. PDF

Fuchsman, C.A., Kirkpatrick, J.B., Brazelton, W.J., Murray, J.W., and Staley, J.T. (2011) Metabolic strategies of free-living and aggregate associated bacterial communities inferred from biological and chemical profiles in the Black Sea suboxic zone. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 78: 586-603. PDF

Fuchsman, C.A., Murray, J.W., and Konovalov, S.K. (2008) Concentration and natural stable isotope profiles of nitrogen species in the Black Sea. Marine Chemistry 111: 90-105.

Konovalov, S.K., Fuchsman, C.A., Belokopitov, V., Murray, J.W. (2008) Modeling the distribution of nitrogen species and isotopes in the water column of the Black Sea. Marine Chemistry 111: 106-124.

Oakley, B.B., Francis, C.A., Roberts, K.J., Fuchsman, C.A., Srinivasan, S., and Staley, J.T. (2007) Analysis of nitrite reductase (nirK and nirS) genes and cultivation reveal depauperate community of denitrifying bacteria in the Black Sea suboxic zone. Environmental Microbiology 9: 118-130.

Fuchsman, C.A., and Rocap, G. (2006) Whole-genome reciprocal BLAST analysis reveals that Planctomycetes do not share an unusually large number of genes with Eukarya and Archaea. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 72: 6841-6844. PDF

Kirkpatrick J., Oakley, B., Fuchsman, C., Srinivasan, S., Staley, J.T., and Murray, J.W. (2006) Diversity and distribution of Planctomycetes and related bacteria in the suboxic zone of the Black Sea. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 72: 3079-3083.

Personal Interests:

Soccer: I manage and play on the FC Flowbees, a co-ed outdoor soccer team.

Nature Photography: