Matthew Church

Matthew Church

Professor - Aquatic Microbial Ecology

Matthew Church

Phone: (406) 872-4506

I am a microbial ecologist with interests on the role of microorganisms in catalyzing elemental cycling in aquatic systems.  A major component of my research involves identifying the types of microorganisms responsible for biogeochemically important processes and studying factors controlling the metabolic activities of these microbes.  Research in my group relies on a variety of approaches and tools to study the dynamics of microbial communities, including rate measurements of microbial metabolisms and genetic approaches to study the diversity and activities of microorganisms in nature. A long standing interest is examining how time-varying changes to aquatic ecosystems influences the ecology and biogeochemical functioning of resident microorganisms.

I have been fortunate to receive support from diverse funding sources including the National Science Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the Simons Foundation. Below is a brief overview of currently funded projects in my lab:

Simons Collaboration on Ocean Processes and Ecology (SCOPE): This project is funded by the Simons Foundation and is a collaborative, interdisciplinary effort to measure, model and predict the pathways and exchanges (inputs and outputs) of energy and matter within and between specific microbial groups and their environment in the oligotrophic ocean waters of the subtropical North Pacific Ocean.

Deep CCZ: This project is funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and is focused on providing the first ecosystem-wide biological survey of the deep-sea biome of the Pacific Ocean in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ). This region of the ocean is likely to undergo future deep-sea mining for extraction of polymetallic nodules; hence, the project is focused on informing understanding of contemporary ecosystem biodiversity and functioning. 

Functional assessment of abyssal microbes: This project is supported by the UK Seabed Resources, LTD. and focuses on assessing microorganism diversity and function associated with polymetallic nodules in the deep sea.


Lab website:


Recent pubs_Church_lab.pdf