Professor David Scanlan

University of Warwick


Prof. Scanlan has over 25 years research experience and has worked at the University of Warwick since 1990 and has more than 100 refereed research publications.

The lab maintains well-established fruitful collaborations with research groups within and outside the University of Warwick, bringing research to a new level of interdisciplinary effort.

The group has several main areas of research:

  • Community structure and niche adaptation mechanisms in marine cyanobacteria
  • Biotic causes of cyanobacterial cell mortality focusing on viral infection and protistan grazing
  • Molecular genetics of nutrient assimilation and regulation in cyanobacteria
  • Sensing environmental stimuli in cyanobacteria
  • Light regulation of gene expression in cyanobacteria and eukaryotic algae
  • Microbiology and molecular ecology of eukaryotic picophytoplankton

His ongoing work with the genera Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus is leading to a much more detailed understanding of why these organisms dominate the world's oceans. This has included, and in collaboration with other European research laboratories, the formal description and complete genome sequence of a Prochlorococcus isolate, an organism with the smallest known genome for a free-living photoautotroph, as well as the comparative genomic analysis of several marine Synechococcus isolates. The latter is revealing considerable differences in gene complement between closely related genotypes, a feature likely underpinning differences in the spatial partitioning of individual genetic lineages in situ.

Current Projects and Collaborations

  • Phosphorus cycling in the soil-microbe-plant continuum of agri-ecosystems with Elizabeth Wellington, Gary Bending, Jay Moore, Alex Eccles-Jones, Funded by: BBSRC, Project Start Date 31-12-2014 - Project End Date 30-12-2018
  • Biogeochemical cycling of N-osmolytes in the surface ocean with Yin Chen, Funded by: NERC, Project Start Date 01-10-2014 - Project End Date 30-09-2017
  • MaCuMBA: Marine Microorganisms: Cultivation Methods for Improving their Biotechnological Applications Funded by: European Commission, Project Start Date 01-08-2012 - Project End Date 31-07-2016
  • Elucidating niche adaptation mechanisms in a ubiquitous marine phototroph: a targeted omics approach Funded by: NERC, Project Start Date 01-04-2011 - Project End Date 31-12-2015
  • Protistan grazing and viral infection of marine picoplankton: a role for the host cell surface? with Andrew Millard, Funded by: NERC, Project Start Date 31-12-2012 - Project End Date 30-12-2015

Key Papers

View David Scanlan Publications on the University of Warwick Publication service.