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on the R/V Kilo Moana, HOT312 cruise

Dr. Elaine Luo

Weston Howland Jr. Postdoctoral Scholar
Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry

office: 508-289-2368
building: Watson Laboratory 111

266 Woods Hole Road, MS #51
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Woods Hole, MA 02543

Research Interests

I study viral diversity and its impacts on marine ecology and biogeochemistry. In the ocean, virus-like particles are on average an order of magnitude more abundant than other microbes, and they massacre cellular microbes that influence the habitability of our planet. I use short- and long-read metagenomics combined with experimentation, wet lab, and field sampling to study viruses across ocean habitats. These approaches have potential to unveil the diversity and impacts of some of the most abundant yet understudied life-forms on the planet.

Research Areas

  1. Diversity and population dynamics of planktonic viruses in the open ocean
  2. Viruses on sinking particles exported and sequestered to the deep sea
  3. Diversity and prevalence of parasitic mobile genetic elements in viral particles
  4. Virus-induced carbon cycling in the dark ocean at hydrothermal vents

Selected Publications

*co-first authors

Luo E, Leu A, Eppley J, Karl D, DeLong E. 2022. Diversity and origins of bacterial and archaeal viruses on sinking particles reaching the abyssal ocean. The ISME Journal

Luo E, Eppley J, Romano A, Mende D, DeLong E. 2020. Virioplankton population dynamics and reproductive strategies in the oligotrophic open ocean water column. The ISME Journal

Beaulaurier J,* Luo E*, Eppley J*, Den Uyl P, Dai X, Turner D, Pendelton M, Juul S, Harrington E, DeLong E. 2020. Assembly-free single-molecule sequencing recovers complete virus genomes from natural microbial communities. Genome Research

Coenen A*, Hu S*, Luo E*, Muratore D*, Weitz J. 2020. A primer for microbiome time-series analysis. Frontiers in Genetics

McMullen A*, Luo E*, Martinez-Hernandez F, Tominaga K, Ogata H, Yoshida T, DeLong E, Martinez-Garcia M. 2020. Diel cycling of the cosmopolitan abundant Pelagibacter virus 37-F6: one of the most abundant viruses on Earth. Environmental Microbiology Reports

Luo E, Aylward F, Mende D, DeLong E. 2017. Bacteriophage distributions and temporal variability in the ocean's interior. mBio

selected research awards

  • WHOI Weston Howland Jr Postdoctoral Scholarship
  • NSERC-PGSD (eq. to NSF-GRFP)
  • WHOI Summer Student Fellowship
  • 2x NSERC-USRA (eq. to NSF-REU)


PhD. 2020. Marine Biology, University of Hawai'i

Honors BSc. 2014. Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto