Jason Sylvan

Jason Sylvan

Associate Professor

Assistant Department Head for Academics and Undergraduate Affairs

Biological Oceanography


  (979) 845-5105

  Eller O&M 716


  • Geomicrobiology and biogeochemistry of hydrothermal vent and subseafloor environments
  • Oil spill microbial ecology
  • Biogeochemistry and microbiology of coastal hypoxia ("dead zones") 

Selected Publications

Postdoctoral research associates/Assistant Research Associates supervised by me are underlined and indicated with a +, graduate students for whom I am their primary advisor are underlined and indicated with a *, and undergraduate students supervised in my lab are underlined and indicated with a **


Hydrothermal Vent & Subseafloor Microbiology

Li, J, P Mara, F Schubotz, JB Sylvan, G Burgaud, F Klein, D Beaudoin, S-Y Wee*, H Dick, S Lott, R Cox, LAE Meyer, M Quémener, DK Blackman & VP Edgcomb. 2020. Recycling and metabolic flexibility dictate life in the lower oceanic crust. Nature, 579(7799): 250-255.

Sheik, C., BK Reese, KI Twing, JB Sylvan, SL Grim, MO Schrenk, ML Sogin & F Colwell. 2018. Discovering life in the   subsurface: A cautionary tale of identifying and removing common extraction associated microorganisms. 2018. Frontiers in Microbiology, 9: 840. 

Monteverde, DR, JB Sylvan, C Suffridge, JJ Baronas, E Fichot, J Fuhrman, W Berelson, SA Sanudo-Wilhelmy. 2018. Distribution of extracellular flavins in a coastal marine basin and their relationship to redox gradients and microbial community members. Environmental Science & Technology, 52: 12265-12274.

Sylvan, JB, SD Wankel, DE Larowe, CN Charoenpong, JA Huber, CL Moyer & KJ Edwards. 2017. Evidence for microbial mediation of subseafloor nitrogen redox processes at Loihi Seamount, Hawaii. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 198: 131-150.

Orcutt, BN, JB Sylvan, D Rogers, J Delaney, RW Lee & PR Girguis. 2015. Carbon fixation by basalt-hosted microbial communities. Frontiers in Microbiology, 6: 904.

Sylvan, JB, CL Hoffman, LM Momper, BM Toner, JP Amend & KJ Edwards. 2015. Bacillus rigiliprofundi, sp. nov., an endospore forming, Mn-oxidizing, halotolerant bacterium isolated from deep subseafloor basaltic crust. International Journal of  Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, 65(6): 1992-1998.

Jacobson Meyers, ME¹, JB Sylvan¹ and KJ Edwards. 2014. Extracellular enzyme activity and microbial diversity measured on seafloor exposed basalts from Loihi Seamount indicate importance of basalts to global biogeochemical cycling. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 80(16): 4854-4864. ¹both authors contributed equally to this work.

Sylvan, JB, TY Sia**, AG Haddad, LJ Briscoe, BM Toner, PR Girguis and KJ Edwards. 2013. Low temperature geomicrobiology follows host rock composition along a geochemical gradient in Lau Basin. Frontiers in Microbiology, 4: 61.

Sylvan, JB, BM Toner & KJ Edwards. 2012. Life and death of deep-sea vents: Bacterial diversity and ecosystem succession on inactive hydrothermal sulfides. mBio 3(1): e00279.

Edwards, KJ, CG Wheat & JB Sylvan. 2011. Under the sea: life in volcanic oceanic crust. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 9: 703-712.

Orcutt, BN, JB Sylvan, N Knab & KJ Edwards. 2011. Microbial ecology of the dark ocean above, at, and below the seafloor. Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews, 75(2): 361-422.


Oil Spill Microbial Ecology

Doyle, SM+, G Lin*, M Morales-McDevitt, TL Wade, A Quigg & JB Sylvan. 2020. Niche partitioning between coastal and offshore shelf waters results in differential expression of alkane and PAH catabolic pathways. mSystems, 5(4): e00668-20.

Kamalanathan, M, SM Doyle+, C Xu, AM Achberger+, T Wade, K Schwehr, P Santschi, JB Sylvan, and A Quigg. 2020. Exoenzymes as a signature of microbial response to marine environmental conditions. mSystems, 5(2): e00290-20.

Bera, G1, SM Doyle+1, U Passow, M Kamalanathan, TL Wade, JB Sylvan, JL Serciano, G Gold, A Quigg & AH Knap. 2019. Biological response to dissolved versus dispersed oil. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 150: 110713. 1these authors contributed equally to this paper

Doyle, SM+, EA Whitaker*, V De Pascuale**, TL Wade, AH Knap, PH Santschi, A Quigg & JB Sylvan. 2018. Rapid formation of microbe-oil aggregates and changes in community composition in coastal surface water following exposure to oil and the dispersant Corexit. Frontiers in Microbiology, 9: 689.

Quigg, A, U Passow, W-C Chin, C Xu, S Doyle+, L Bretherton, M Kamalanathan, AK Williams, JB Sylvan, Z Finkel, AH Knap, KA Schwehr, S Zhang, L Sun, TL Wade, W Obeid, PG Hatcher, & PH Santschi. 2016. The role of microbial exopolymers in determining the fate of oil and chemical dispersants in the ocean. Limnology and Oceanography Letters, 1: 3-26.


Gulf of Mexico Science

Kealoha, A, SM Doyle+, KEF Shamberger, JB Sylvan, RD Hetland & SF DiMarco. 2020. Localized hypoxia drives coral reef mortality at the Flower Garden Banks. Coral Reefs, 39: 119-132.Sylvan, JB and JW Ammerman. 2013. Seasonal distributions of organic nutrients on the Louisiana and their implications for nutrient limitation and hypoxia formation. Marine Chemistry, 154: 113-123.

Quigg, A, JB Sylvan, AB Gustafson, TR Fisher, RL Oliver, S Tozzi and JW Ammerman. 2011. Going west: role of phosphorus limitation in expanding primary production across the Louisiana shelf. Aquatic Geochemistry, 17: 519-544.

Sylvan, JB, Q Dortch, DM Nelson, AF Maier Brown, W Morrison & JW Ammerman. 2006. Phosphorus limits phytoplankton growth on the Louisiana shelf during the period of hypoxia formation. Environmental Science and Technology, 40(24): 7548-7553.


Ph. D., January 2008, Rutgers University, Biological Oceanography, New Brunswick

M. Sc., 2004, Rutgers University, Biological Oceanography, New Brunswick, NJ

B. Sc., 1999, Brandeis University, Biology, Waltham, Massachusetts 


2016 KAVLI Fellow

2016-2017 IODP Ocean Discovery Lecturer

2018 Dean's Distinguished Achievement Award: Innovative Educator Award


OCNG 251 - Introduction to Oceanography

OCNG 453 - Hydrothermal Vents and Mid-Ocean Ridges

OCNG 620 - Biological Oceanography

OCNG 650 - Aquatic Microbial Ecology

Additional Information


Associate Professor - 2020-present, Dep't of Oceanography, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

Assistant Professor - 2015-2020, Dep't of Oceanography, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

Assistant Professor (Research) - 2013-2015, Dep't of Biological Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

Postdoctoral Fellow - 2008-2013, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

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