Matthew Church

FLBS has a new website. Please update your permanent links to point to

Front page of new FLBS website
Matthew Church

Associate Professor - Aquatic Microbial Ecology

Send Email:

Office Phone:  406-982-3301  

About Matthew Church

I am an Associate Professor at the University of Montana and work as a resident scientist at the Flathead Lake Biological Station on the shores of Flathead Lake. My research interests focus on the biogeochemistry and ecology of microorganisms in aquatic environments. Much of my work to date has focused on ocean ecosystems, but more recently I’ve become interested in microbial ecology in lakes and streams. Members of my lab group work on diverse projects that typically couple molecular and biogeochemical methodological approaches to gain insights into the distributions and metabolic activities of microorganisms controlling specific ecosystem processes. For example, for the past 10 years we have worked on quantifying the importance of nitrogen fixation to open ocean nutrient budgets and examining how the ecology of nitrogen-fixing microorganisms shapes nitrogen cycling in aquatic systems. I have long-standing interests in examining how ecosystems respond to climate-driven changes. I am a big proponent of the power of sustained time-series observations in helping to understanding ecological and biogeochemical change. I recently served as the lead principal investigator of the Hawaii Ocean Time-series (HOT) program (2009-2016), and I am currently an investigator in the Simons Collaboration on Ocean Processes and Ecology (SCOPE).


  • 2003 The College of William and Mary, Ph.D., Marine Science
  • 1999 The College of William and Mary, M.Sc., Marine Science
  • 1994 The Evergreen State College, B.Sc.

Academic Appointments

  • 2016-present Associate Professor, Division of Biological Sciences, Flathead Lake Biological Station, University of Montana
  • 2016 Professor, Department of Oceanography, University of Hawaii
  • 2011-2016 Associate Professor (with tenure), Department of Oceanography, University of Hawaii
  • 2007-2011 Assistant Professor, Department of Oceanography, University of Hawaii
  • 2004-2007 Assistant Researcher, University of Hawaii
  • 2003-2004 Postgraduate Research Scientist, University of California Santa Cruz

Recent Publications

  • Shulse, C.N., B. Maillot, C.R. Smith, and M.J. Church. Polymetallic nodules, sediments, and deep waters in the equatorial North Pacific exhibit highly diverse and distinct bacterial, archaeal, and microeukaryotic communities. In Press. Microbiology Open.
  • Rii, Y., D.M. Karl, and M.J. Church. Temporal and vertical variability in picoplankton primary productivity in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. In Press. Marine Ecology Progress Series.
  • Böttjer, D., J.E. Dore, D.M. Karl, R.M. Letelier, C. Mahaffey, S.T. Wilson, and M.J. Church. Temporal variability in nitrogen fixation and particulate nitrogen export at Station ALOHA. Limnology and Oceanography doi: 10.1002/lno.10386.
  • Ferron, S., del Valle, D.A., Björkman, K.M., Quay, P.D., Church, M.J., Karl, D.M. 2016. Application of membrane inlet mass spectrometry to measure aquatic gross primary production by the 18O in vitro method. Limnology and Oceanography: Methods, doi: 10.1002/lom3.10116.
  • Rii, Y.M., S. Duhamel, R.R. Bidigare, D.M. Karl, D.J. Repeta, M.J. Church. 2015. Diversity and productivity of photosynthetic picoeukaryotes in biogeochemically distinct regions of the South East Pacific Ocean. Limnology and Oceanography doi: 10.1002/lno.10255.
  • Björkman, K.M., M.J. Church, J.K. Doggett, D.M. Karl. 2015. Differential assimilation of inorganic carbon and leucine by Prochlorococcus and non-pigmented bacteria in the oligotrophic North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. Frontiers in Marine Science doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2015.01401.
  • Viviani, D.A., D.M. Karl, M.J. Church. 2015. Photosynthetic production of dissolved and particulate organic carbon in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. Frontiers in Marine Science doi:10.3389/fmars.2015.00073.
  • White, A.E., R.M. Letelier, A.L. Whitmire, B. Barone, R.R. Bidigare, M.J. Church, and D.M. Karl. 2015. Phenology of particle size distributions and primary productivity in the North Pacific Subtropical gyre. Journal Geophysical Research – Oceans 120: 7381–7399.
  • Bryant, J.A., F.O Aylward, J.M. Eppley, D.M. Karl, M.J. Church, E.F. DeLong. Wind and sunlight shape microbial diversity in surface waters of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. The ISME Journal doi: 10.1038/ismej.2015.221.
  • Wilson, S.T., B. Barone, F. Ascani, R. Bidigare, M. Church, D. del Valle, S. Dyhrman, S. Ferron, J. Fitzsimmons, L. Juranek, Z. Kolber, R. Letelier, S. Martinez-Garcia, D. Nicholson, K. Richards, Y. Rii, M. Rouco, D. Viviani, A. White, J. Zehr, D. Karl. 2015. Short-term variability in euphotic zone biogeochemistry and primary productivity at Station ALOHA: A case study of summer 2012. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 29: 1145–1164.
  • Barone, B., R.R. Bidigare, M.J. Church, D.M. Karl, R.M. Letelier, A.E. White. 2015. Particle distributions and dynamics in the euphotic zone of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. Journal Geophysical Research – Oceans 120: 3229–3247.


© 2018 FLBS, UM
updated: 11/2/2016 8:58 am