Dr. Joshua Steele
Joshua Steele is a microbiologist who specializes in environmental microbiology and microbial ecology, including cultivation-independent tracking of pathogens and natural microorganisms in the coastal ocean and watersheds. He received his B.S. in molecular biology in 2000 from the University of California, San Diego and his Ph.D. in biological oceanography in 2010 from the University of Southern California. Dr. Steele joined SCCWRP in January 2014. His current research focuses on development and application of molecular techniques to detect and track pathogenic bacteria and viruses, to determine their viability and infectivity, and to link them to beachgoer risk using statistical models. He specializes in detecting microbes of emerging concern in coastal waters, employing next-generation sequencing to connect the environmental microbiome and antibiotic resistome to water quality and ecosystem health, and applying bioinformatics tools in environmental assessment.
Ph.D., Marine Environmental Biology, University of Southern California, 2010
B.S., Molecular Biology, University of California, San Diego, 2000
Areas of Expertise
Dr. Steele is an environmental microbiologist and marine microbial ecologist at SCCWRP. He earned his Ph.D. in marine biology and biological oceanography at the University of Southern California, where his dissertation focused on planktonic microbial community change over days to weeks and tens to hundreds of kilometers and interactions between bacteria, archaea, viruses, and protists off the coast of Southern California. While at the California Institute of Technology, he focused on applying next generation sequencing, metagenomics, metaproteomics, and biogeochemical rate measurements to study deep-sea methane seep microbial communities. His current research involves development and application of molecular techniques to detect and track pathogenic bacteria and viruses, determine their viability and infectivity, and link them to beachgoer risk using statistical models, application of next-generation sequencing and metagenomics to connect the environmental microbiome and antibiotic resistome to water quality, ecosystem health, and health risk, and using bioinformatics tools to measure natural populations and community-wide changes in genes or gene expression in response to environmental changes.
Scientist, Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, Costa Mesa, CA. 2014-present
Associate Research Scientist, Geobiology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA. 2013-2014
Postdoctoral Scholar in Geobiology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA. 2010-2013
Research Assistant, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA. 2001-2010
Knauss Marine Policy Fellow: Legislative Assistant for Rep. Sam Farr (CA-17), U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC. 2008-2009
Teaching Assistant, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA. 2001-2006
Doctoral Fellow, NSF Integrative Graduate Education, Research, and Training: Environmental Studies, Policy and Engineering- Sustainable Cities Program, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 2003-2004
Participant USC Sustainable Cities Internship in Hong Kong SAR, China 2004
Sea Grant Trainee, Beach Water Quality Study, 2002
Laboratory Technician, CalBioMarine Technologies, Inc. Carlsbad, CA 2000-2001
Honors and Awards
Knauss Sea Grant Fellowship in Marine Policy 2008-2009
Rose Hills Graduate Internship 2005, 2006
National Science Foundation IGERT Doctoral Fellowship in Sustainable Cities 2003-2004
Student travel Award ASLO Ocean Sciences Conference, Honolulu, HI 2004
Traineeship, USC Sea Grant Program 2002
Professional Societies and Certifications
Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography
American Geophysical Union
American Society for Microbiology
International Society for Microbial Ecology
Society for Applied Microbiology
Marlow JJ, Steele JA, Ziebis W, Scheller S, Case D, Reynard LM, Orphan VJ. 2017. Monodeuterated Methane, an Isotopic Tool To Assess Biological Methane Metabolism Rates. mSphere 2(4): e00309–17–19 doi:10.1128/mSphereDirect.00309-17.
Pasulka, A.L; Levin, L.A; Steele, J.A; Case, D.H; Landry, M. R; Orphan, V.J. 2016 Microbial eukaryotic distributions and diversity patterns in a deep‐sea methane seep ecosystem. Environ Microbiol, 18: 3022–3043. doi:10.1111/1462-2920.13185
Cram, J. A., Chow, C.-E. T., Sachdeva, R., Needham, D. M., Parada, A. E., Steele, J. A., & Fuhrman, J. A. 2015. Seasonal and interannual variability of the marine bacterioplankton community throughout the water column over ten years. Isme Journal 9 (3), 563-580 doi:10.1038/ismej.2014.153
Marlow JJ, Steele JA, Case DH, Connon SA, Levin LA and Orphan VJ 2014 Microbial abundance and diversity patterns associated with sediments and carbonates from the methane seep environments of Hydrate Ridge, OR. Front. Mar. Sci. 1:44. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2014.00044
Marlow, J. J., Steele, J. A., Ziebis, W., Thurber, A. R., Levin, L. A., & Orphan, V. J. 2014 Carbonate-hosted methanotrophy represents an unrecognized methane sink in the deep sea. Nature Communications, 5, 5094. doi:10.1038/ncomms6094
Glass, J.B., H. Yu, J.A. Steele, K.S. Dawson, S. Sun, K.Chourey, R.L. Hettich, V.J. Orphan. 2014 Geochemical, metagenomic and metaproteomic insights into trace metal utilization of methane-oxidizing microbial consortia in sulfidic marine sediments. Environmental Microbiology 16(6), 1592–1611. doi:10.1111/1462-2920.12314
Hatosy, S.M., J.B.H. Martiny, R. Sachdeva, J. Steele, J.A. Fuhrman, A.C. Martiny 2013 Beta-diversity of marine bacteria depends on temporal scale. Ecology 94 (9), 1898-1904
Chow, C.E.T., R. Sachdeva, J.A. Cram, J.A. Steele, D.M. Needham, A. Patel, A.E. Parada, J.A. Fuhrman. 2013. Temporal variability and coherence of euphotic zone bacterial communities over a decade in the Southern California Bight ISME Journal 7, 2259–2273; doi:10.1038/ismej.2013.122
Tavormina, P.L., W. Ussler III, J.A. Steele, S.A. Connon, M.G. Klotz, V. J. Orphan. 2013. Depth distribution of Cu-MMO variants through the oxygen minimum zone along the Costa Rica convergent margin. Environmental Microbiology Reports 5 (3), 414-423
Gilbert, J.A., J.A. Steele, J.G. Caporaso, L. Steinbrück, P. Somerfield, J. Reeder, B. Temperton, S. Huse, I. Joint, A.C. McHardy, R. Knight, J.A. Fuhrman, D. Field. 2012 Defining seasonal marine microbial community dynamics. ISME Journal 6:298-308.
Steele, J.A., P.D. Countway, L. Xia, P. D. Vigil, J.M. Beman, D.Y. Kim, C. T. Chow, R. Sachdeva, A.C. Jones, M.S. Schwalbach, J. M. Rose, I. Hewson, A. Patel, F. Sun, D.A. Caron, J.A. Fuhrman. 2011 Marine bacterial, archaeal, and protistan association networks reveal ecological linkages ISME Journal 5:1414-1425.
Xia, L. C., J.A. Steele, J. Cram, Z.G. Cardon, S.L. Simmons, J.J. Vallino , J.A. Fuhrman, F. Sun 2011. Extended local similarity analysis (eLSA) of microbial community and other time series data with replicates. BMC Systems Biology 5:S15.
Beman, J.M., J.A. Steele, and J.A. Fuhrman. 2011 Co-occurrence patterns for abundant marine archaeal and bacterial lineages in the deep chlorophyll maximum of coastal California. ISME Journal 5:1077-1085.
Fuhrman J.A., J.A. Steele. 2008 Community Structure of Marine Bacterioplankton: Patterns, Networks, and Relationships to Function. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 53:69-81.
Fuhrman, J.A., J.A. Steele, I. Hewson, M. S. Schwalbach, M.V. Brown, J. Green, Brown, J.H. 2008 A Latitude Diversity Gradient in Planktonic Marine Bacteria. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105:7774-7778.
Patel, A., R. Noble, J.A. Steele, M.S. Schwalbach, I. Hewson, J.A. Fuhrman 2007 Virus and Prokaryote Enumeration from Planktonic Marine Environments by Epifluorescence Microscopy with SYBR Green I. Nature Protocols 2:269-276.
Ruan, Q., D. Dutta, M.S. Schwalbach, J.A. Steele, J.A. Fuhrman, F. Sun 2006 Local Similarity Analysis Reveals Unique Associations Among Marine Bacterioplankton Species and Environmental Factors. Bioinformatics 22: 2532-2538.
Fuhrman, J. A., Hewson, I., Schwalbach, M. S., Steele, J. A., Brown, M. V., & Naeem, S. 2006. Annually reoccurring bacterial communities are predictable from ocean conditions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103(35): 13104–13109.
Ruan, Q., Steele, J. A., Schwalbach, M. S., Fuhrman, J. A., & Sun, F. 2006. A dynamic programming algorithm for binning microbial community profiles. Bioinformatics, 22(12), 1508–1514.
Hewson, I., D.G. Capone, J. A. Steele, J.A. Fuhrman. 2006 Influence of Amazon and Orinoco Offshore Surface Water Plumes on Oligotrophic Bacterioplankton Diversity in the West Tropical Atlantic. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 43:11-22.
Hewson, I, J.A. Steele, D.G. Capone, J.A. Fuhrman. 2006 Remarkable Heterogeneity in Meso- and Bathypelagic Bacterioplankton Community Composition. Limnol. Oceanography 51:1274-1283.
Hewson, I, J.A. Steele, D.G. Capone, J.A. Fuhrman. 2006 Temporal and Spatial Scales of Oligotrophic Surface Water Bacterioplankton Assemblage Variation. Marine Ecology Progress Series 311:67-77.
Steele, J.A., F. Ozis, J.A. Fuhrman, J.S. Devinny. 2005. Structure of Microbial Communities in Ethanol Biofilters. Chemical Engineering Journal 113:135-143.