Pia Moisander, PhD

Associate Professor


Research Website



Violette Research 209


1996University of Helsinki, FinlandMS in Limnology
2002University of North Carolina Chapel HillPhD in Marine Science


  • Marine Microbiology
  • General Microbiology Laboratory
  • Biology of Cells Laboratory





The nature and diversity of microorganisms. Special emphasis is placed on bacterial cytology, nutrition, physiology, and growth. Topics on the significance of microorganisms in the environment and the evolutionary relationships of microorganisms are included.

Terms and hours to be arranged. Graded A-F.

Investigations of a fundamental and/or applied nature representing an original contribution to the scholarly research literature of the field. PhD dissertations are often published in refereed journals or presented at major conferences. A written dissertation must be completed in accordance with the rules of the Graduate School and the School for Marine Science and Technology. Admission to the course is based on successful completion of the PhD comprehensive examination and submission of a formal proposal endorsed by the student's graduate committee and submitted to the SMAST Graduate Program Director.


Research Activities

  • Office of Naval Research, Marine Undersea Technology Research Program. Advances in marine technology: New solutions to biofouling. 2020-2023.
  • University-Industry Collaborative Seed Funding Program. Assessment of biological fate of microplastics discharged from wastewater treatment plants in Massachusetts
  • Boston Engineering Corporation (Naval Sea Systems). Influence of UV light on marine biofilms. 2016-2019
  • EAGER: Collaborative Research: Detection limit in oceanic nitrogen fixation measurements - Constraints of rates from the mesopelagic ocean. NSF-Chemical Oceanography. 2017-2018.
  • Microbial associations in zooplankton: significance for the marine nitrogen cycle. NSF-Biological Oceanography. Sep 15, 2011 - August 31, 2016


Research Interests

  • Marine microbial ecology
  • Marine nitrogen cycle
  • Marine biofouling
  • Cyanobacterial blooms

Select publications

  • Moisander PH, Ochiai M (2020).
    Draft genome sequence of a non-microcystin-producing Microcystis aeruginosa KLA2, isolated from a freshwater reservoir in Northern California, USA
    Microbiology Resource Announcements, 9, e01086-19.
  • White, AE, Granger J, Selden C, Gradoville MR, Potts L, Bourbonnais A, Fulweiler RW, Knapp AN, Mohr W, Moisander PH, Tobias CR, Caffin M, Wilson ST, Benavides M, Bonnet S, Mulholland M, and Chang BX (2020).
    A critical review of the 15-N2 tracer method to measure diazotrophic production in pelagic ecosystems
    Limnology and Oceanography: Methods
  • Shoemaker KM, McCliment E, Moisander PH. (2020).
    Copepod-associated gammaproteobacterial alkaline phosphatases in the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre
    Frontiers in Microbiology

Pia H. Moisander, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at the Department of Biology at the UMassD, and holds an Affiliate position at the Department of Estuarine and Ocean Sciences, School of Marine Science and Technology. Dr. Moisander obtained her M.S. degree at the University of Helsinki, Finland and her Ph.D. in Marine Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the latter supported with an ASLA-Fulbright fellowship. She was awarded a National Research Council Research Associateship at the NASA Ames Research Center (Moffett Field, California), and then held a Postdoctoral Researcher and subsequent Assistant Researcher positions at the University of California Santa Cruz.

Her research is in the field of marine microbial ecology, with emphasis on the microbial influence and interactions with marine biogeochemical cycles; specifically, the nitrogen cycle. Her research combines molecular, genomic, microbiological, and biogeochemical approaches. Recently her laboratory has investigated marine zooplankton microbiomes and contributed to research in development of approaches for measurements of marine nitrogen fixation. Her laboratory has recently been participating in collaborative research projects developing novel and sustainable antifouling solutions to marine biofouling.

Dr. Moisander is an author of >50 peer-reviewed publications in journals including Science, The ISME Journal, and Environmental Microbiology. She serves as an associate editor for two journals and has served as a reviewer for numerous journals and many federal and non-federal grant programs. Dr. Moisander has received past grant support from sources including NSF Biological Oceanography, NSF Chemical Oceanography, NSF Division of Environmental Biology, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, USGS, US Department of Energy, and via contracts with several private and non-profit organizations.

External links

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