Deborah K.  Steinberg

CSX Professor; Dept. Chair, Biological Sciences

Email: [[debbies]]
Phone: (804) 684-7838
Office: Andrews Hall 328
Department: Biological Sciences
Interests: Zooplankton ecology; coastal and deep sea food webs/marine "snow."
Website: {{, Zooplankton Ecology}}

  • B.A., University of California, Santa Barbara, 1987
  • Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz, 1993
Research Interests

My research interests are in zooplankton ecology and physiology, coastal and deep-sea food webs, and carbon and nutrient cycling. Much of my research program focuses on how zooplankton influence cycling of nutrients and organic matter, and how climate affects long-term change in zooplankton communities. Our laboratory has been involved in a number of projects with this theme, including the role of zooplankton vertical migration in transport of nutrients, the ecology of gelatinous zooplankton "blooms" and their affect on fluxes of organic matter, the importance of zooplankton in the cycling of dissolved organic matter, mesopelagic zooplankton and particle flux, and the effects of mesoscale eddies and a large river plume on zooplankton community structure. We are also using long-term data sets from the Western Antarctic Peninsula and the Sargasso Sea off Bermuda to study the effects of climate change on zooplankton communities, and how these community changes may affect ocean food webs and biogeochemistry.  I have worked in a number of marine environments including coastal California, the Antarctic, the Sargasso Sea, the subtropical and subarctic North Pacific, the Amazon River plume, and the Chesapeake Bay.

Current Projects
  • LTER Palmer, Antarctica (PAL): Land-shelf-ocean connectivity, ecosystem resilience, and transformation in a sea-ice influenced pelagic ecosystem (NSF OPP) 
  • The Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study: Sustained Biogeochemical, Ecosystem, and Ocean Change Observations and Linkages in the Subtropical North Atlantic (NSF OCE) 
  • CSBR: Natural History: Organization and digitization of the larval fish collection at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (NSF DBI)
Selected Publications

For Full CV Click Here

For Google Scholar Citations Click Here

  • Steinberg, D.K. and M. R. Landry (2017) Zooplankton and the ocean carbon cycle. Annu. Rev. Mar. Sci. 9: 14.1-14.32.  doi: 10.1146/annurev-marine-010814-015924
  • Steinberg, D.K., K. E. Ruck, M. R. Gleiber, L. M. Garzio, J. S. Cope, K. S. Bernard, S. E. Stammerjohn, O.M.E. Schofield, L. B. Quetin, and R. M. Ross (2015) Long-term (1993-2013) changes in macrozooplankton off the Western Antarctic Peninsula. Deep-Sea Research I, 101:  54-70.
  • Conroy, B. J., D. K. Steinberg,  M. R. Stukel,  J. I. Goes, and V. J. Coles (2015)  Meso- and microzooplankton grazing in the Amazon River plume and western tropical North Atlantic. Limnology and Oceanography, doi: 10.1002/lno.10261
  • Stone, J.P. and D. K. Steinberg (2014) A long-term time-series study of salp population dynamics in the Sargasso Sea. Marine Ecology Progress Series.
  • Ruck, K. E., D. K. Steinberg, E. A. Canuel (2014) Regional differences in quality of krill and fish as prey along the Western Antarctic Peninsula. Marine Ecology Progress Series 509:39-55.
  • Steinberg, D. K., M. W. Lomas, and J. S. Cope (2012) Long-term increase in mesozooplankton biomass in the Sargasso Sea: Linkage to climate and implications for food web dynamics and biogeochemical cycling.  Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 26, GB1004, doi:10.1029/2010GB004026
  • Bernard, K. S., D. K. Steinberg, O. M. E. Schofield (2012) Summertime grazing impact of the dominant macrozooplankton off the Western Antarctic Peninsula. Deep-Sea Research I, 62: 111-122.
  • Condon, R. H., D. K. Steinberg,  P. A. del Giorgio, T. C. Bouvier, D. A. Bronk, H. W. Ducklow (2011) Jellyfish blooms result in a major microbial respiratory sink of carbon in marine systems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1015782108.
  • Saba, G. K., D. K. Steinberg, D. A. Bronk (2011) The relative importance of sloppy feeding, excretion, and fecal pellet leaching in the release of dissolved carbon and nitrogen by Acartia tonsa copepods. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 404: 47-56.
  • Steinberg, D.K., B. A. S. Van Mooy, K. O. Buesseler, P. P. Boyd, T. Kobari, and D. M. Karl  (2008) Bacterial vs. zooplankton control of sinking particle flux in the ocean's twilight zone.  Limnology and Oceanography.  53 (4): 1327-1338.
Students and Post-Doctoral Associates
Current Students
  • Patricia Thibodeau, Ph.D. student, Environmental controls on pteropod ecology and physiology in the Western Antarctic Peninsula 
  • Jack Conroy, M.S. student, TBD- Western Antarctic Peninsula zooplankton 
Past Students
  • Brandon Conroy, Ph.D. awarded 2016, Zooplankton community structure and grazing in the Amazon River plume and western tropical North Atlantic
  • Joshua Stone, Ph.D. awarded 2016, Population dynamics of gelatinous zooplankton in the Chesapeake Bay and Sargasso Sea, and effects on carbon export
  • Jami Ivory, M.S. awarded 2015, Seasonal cycles and interannual variability in the major taxa of mesozooplankton at the Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study (BATS) station over two decades (currently scientist with Science Education Association, SEA) 
  • Miram Gleiber, M.S. awarded 2014, Long-term change in copepod community structure in the Western Antarctic Peninsula: Linkage to climate and implications for carbon cycling (currently Ph.D. student, Oregon State University)
  • Lori Garzio (née Price) M.S. awarded 2012, Microzooplankton community composition and grazing impact along the western Antarctic Peninsula (currently Research Analyst, Ocean Observatories Initiative, OOI)
  • Kate Ruck, M.S. awarded 2012, Zooplankton prey quality and feeding dynamics along the Western Antarctic Peninsula (currently Science Assistant, Division of Polar Programs, National Science Foundation) 
  • Jeanna Hudson, M.S. awarded 2012, Trophic Ecology of Mesopelagic Myctophids (Family Myctophidae) from the Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge (Iceland to the Azores)  (currently Research Technician, VIMS)      
  • Grace Saba, Ph.D. awarded 2009, The role of copepods and heterotrophic dinoflagellates in the production of dissolved organic matter and inorganic nutrients (currently Assistant Professor, Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University)
  • Stephanie Wilson, Ph.D. awarded 2009, Mesopelagic zooplankton feeding ecology and effects on particle repackaging and carbon transport in the subtropical and subarctic North Pacific Ocean  (currently Research Lecturer/faculty, School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University, UK) 
  • Rob Condon, Ph.D. awarded 2008, Impacts of gelatinous zooplankton on dissolved organic matter cycling and bacterioplankton communities in the York River estuary (currently Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina, Wilmington)
  • Bethany Eden, M.S. awarded 2008, Zooplankton community structure in a cyclonic and mode-water eddy in the Sargasso Sea (currently Marine Science teacher, Chesapeake Bay Governor's School, VA)
  • Astrid Schnetzer, Ph.D. awarded 2001, (University of Austria, Vienna), Zooplankton vertical migration and POM transport in the Sargasso Sea.  (currently Associate Professor, North Carolina State University)
Past Post-Docs
  • Dr. Kim Bernard, Antarctic mesozooplankton grazing, and use of acoustics to measure zooplankton distribution (currently Assistant Professor at Oregon State University)
  • Dr. Sarah Stone (neé Goldthwait), Zooplankton and biogeochemical cycling in mesoscale eddies (currently Program Manger, eScience Institute, University of Washington)
Courses Taught
  • MSCI 501D, 401D: Fundamentals of Marine Science, Biological Oceanography
  • MSCI 506: Scientific Communication, with Eric Hilton
  • MSCI 652: Marine Plankton Ecology
  • MSCI 660: Zooplankton Ecology
  • MSCI 698: Special Topics (various)- e.g., Dissolved Organic Matter in Aquatic Systems, with Deborah Bronk; Respiration in Aquatic Ecosystems, with Elizabeth Canuel
Awards & Honors
  • 2015 - State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) Outstanding Faculty Award
  • 2014 - CSX Eminent Scholar Professorship/ Chair in Marine Science
  • 2014 - William & Mary Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence
  • 2013 - William & Mary Tack Faculty lecture
  • 2012 - Sverdrup Award lecture, Ocean Sciences, American Geophysical Union (AGU)
  • 2007 - Winner of William and Mary Raft Debate
  • 2006 - Dean's Prize for Advancement of Women in Marine Science
  • 2005 - College of William & Mary Class of 1964 Distinguished Associate Professor of Marine Science
  • 2005 - Elected to the Board of Trustees, Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, Inc.
  • 1987 - Antarctic Service Award and Medal, U.S. Department of the Navy
Professional Memberships
  • American Society of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO)
  • The Oceanography Society (TOS)
  • American Geophysical Union (AGU)