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Michael Behrenfeld

Michael Behrefeld

Ph.D., 1993, Oregon State University


Office/Lab: Cordley 2080/2054
Phone: 541-737-5289/6204

Research Area

Marine algae.

Description of Research

Physiological-ecology of marine algae, biogeochemcial cycles, remote sensing of the biosphere, novel optical approaches to understanding algal ecology/physiology, biochemistry and biophysics of photosynthesis, physiological responses of plants to environmental stresses, and regional and global ecological modeling, climate change and carbon cycling.

Research Group Members

Faculty Research Assistants/ Associates

Jason Graff
Robert O'Malley
Kristen Reifel

Graduate Students

Susan Theis (MS due 2013)

Related Links

Ocean Productivity

NAAMES project



Siegel D.A., Antoine, D., Behrenfeld, M.J., Fanton d’Andon O.H., Fields, E., Franz,
B.A., Goryl P., Maritorena, S., McClain, C.R., Wang, M. Yoder J.A.. Global ocean
phytoplankton. In: State of the Climate in 2011. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc. 93:
S107-S110, 2012.

Milligan A.J., Aparicio U.A., Behrenfeld M.J. Fluorescence and nonphotochemical
quenching responses to simulated vertical mixing in the marine diatom Thalassiosira weissflogii. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 448:67--78, 2012.

Shang, S., Dong, Q., Lee, Z., Li, Y., Xie, Y., Behrenfeld, M.J. Phytoplankton dynamics observed by using MODIS-retrieved absorption properties: a case study in the Taiwan Strait. Biogeosciences. 8, 841–850, 2011

Halsey, K.H., Milligan, A.J., Behrenfeld, M.J. Linking Time-dependent Carbon-fixation Efficiencies in Dunaliella Tertiolecta (Chlorophyceae) to Underlying Metabolic Pathways.J. Phycol.. 47, 66-76, 2011

Schrader, P.S., Milligan, A.J., Behrenfeld, M.J. Surplus Photosynthetic Antennae
Complexes Underlie Diagnostics of Iron Limitation in a Cyanobacterium. PLoS ONE
6(4): e18753. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0018753, 2011

Behrenfeld, M.J. Future oceans: blue or green. Nature Climate Change 1, 33-34, 2011

Dall'Olmo, G., Boss, E., Behrenfeld, M.J., Westberry, T.K., Courties, C., Prieur, L.,
Pujo-Pay, M., Hardman-Mountford, N., Moutin, T. Inferring phytoplankton carbon and eco-physiological rates from diel cycles of spectral particulate beam-attenuation coefficients. Biogeosciences. 8, 3423–3440, 2011

Saba, V.S., Friedrichs, M.A.M., Antoine, D., Armstrong, R.A., Asanuma, I., Behrenfeld,M.J., Ciotti, A.M., Dowell, M., Hoepffner, N., Hyde, K.J.W., Ishizaka, J., Kameda, T.,Marra, J., M´elin, F., Morel, A., O’Reilly, J., Scardi, M., Smith Jr., W.O., Smyth, T.J.,Tang, S., Uitz, J., Waters, K., Westberry, T.K. An evaluation of ocean color model estimates of marine primary productivity in coastal and pelagic regions across the globe. Biogeosciences, 8, 489–503, 2011.

Slade, W.H., Boss, E., Dall'Olmo, G., Langner, M.R., Loftin, J., Behrenfeld, M.J.,
Roesler, C. Underway and moored methods for improving accuracy in measurement of spectral particulate absorption and attenuation. J. Atmosph. Oceanic Techn. DOI:10.1175/2010JTECHO755.1, 2010

Siegel, D. A., Behrenfeld, M.J. Maritorena, S., O'Malley, R. T., Fields, E. Global ocean phytoplankton. In: State of the Climate in 2010. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc. 92(6):41 S105-S108, 2010.

Boss, E., Behrenfeld, M.J. In-situ evaluation of the initiation of the North Atlantic
phytoplankton bloom. Geophysical Research Letters. 37: L18603,
doi:10.1029/2010GL044174, 2010.

Westberry, T.K, Dall’Olmo, G., Boss, E., Behrenfeld, M.J., Moutin, T. Coherence of
particulate beam attenuation and backscattering coefficients in diverse open ocean environments. Optics Express. 18 (15): 15,419-15,425, 2010.

Halsey, K.H., Milligan, A., Behrenfeld, M.J. Physiological optimization underlies growth rate-independent chlorophyll-specific gross and net primary production. Photosynth. Res. doi: 10.1007/s11120-009-9526-z, 2010.

Behrenfeld, M.J. Abandoning Sverdrup’s Critical Depth Hypothesis on phytoplankton blooms. Ecology 91(4): 977–989, 2010.

Saba, V.S., Friedrichs,M.A.M., Elena-Carr,M., Antoine,D., Armstrong, R.A., Asanuma, I., Aumont, O., Bates, N.R., Behrenfeld, M.J., Bennington, V., Bopp, L., Bruggeman, J., Buitenhuis, E.T., Church, M.J., Ciotti, A.M., Doney, S.C., Dowell, M., Dunne, J., Dutkiewicz, S., Gregg, W., Hoepffner, N., Hyde, K.J.W., Ishizaka, J., Kameda, T., Karl, D.M., Lima, I., Lomas, M.W., Marra, J., McKinley, G.A., Melin, F., Moore, J.K., Morel, A., O’Reilly, J., Salihoglu, B., Scardi, M., Smyth, T.J., Tang, S., Tjiputra, J., Uitz, J., Vichi, M., Waters, K., Westberry, T.K., Yool, A.. Challenges of modeling depthintegrated marine primary productivity over multiple decades: A case study at BATS and HOT. Global Biogeochem. Cycl. 24, GB3020, doi:10.1029/2009GB003655, 2010

O’Malley, R.T., Behrenfeld, M.J., Siegel, D.A., Maritorena, S. Global ocean
phytoplankton. In: State of the Climate in 2009. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc. July 2010.91(7): S75-S78.

Birdsey, R., Bates, N., Behrenfeld, M.J., Davis, K., Doney, S.C., Feely, R., Hansell, D., Kasischke, E., Kheshgi, H., Law, B., Lee, C., Mcguire, A.D., Raymond, P., Tucker, C.J. Carbon Cycle Observations: Gaps Threaten Climate Mitigation Policies. Eos, 90 (34), 292-293, 2009.

Behrenfeld, M.J., Siegel, D.A., O’Malley, R.T., Maritorena, S. Global ocean
phytoplankton. In: [T.C. Peterson and M.O. Baringer, eds.] State of the Climate in 2008.

Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc. August 2009. 90(8): S68-S73, 2009.
Wang, X., Le Borgne, R., Murtugudde, R., Busalacchi, A.J., Behrenfeld, M.J. Spatial and temporal variability of the phytoplankton carbon to chlorophyll ratio in the equatorial Pacific: A basin-scale modeling study, J. Geophys. Res., 114, C07008, doi:10.1029/2008JC004942, 2009.

E. Boss, Slade, W.H., Behrenfeld, M.J., Dall’Olmo, G. Acceptance angle effects on the 42 beam attenuation in the ocean. Optics Express 17(3); 1535-1550, 2009.
Milutinovic, S., Behrenfeld, M.J., Johannessen, J.A., Johannessen, T. Sensitivity of
remote sensing–derived phytoplankton productivity to mixed layer depth: Lessons from the carbon-based productivity model. Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 23, GB4005, doi:10.1029/2008GB003431, 2009.

Behrenfeld, M.J., Westberry, T.K., Boss, E.S., O’Malley, R.T., Siegel, D.A., Wiggert, J.D., Franz, B.A., McClain, C.R., Feldman, G.C., Doney, S.C., Moore, J.K., Dall’Olmo, G., Milligan, A.J., Lima, I., Mahowald, N. Satellite-detected Fluorescence reveals Global Physiology of Ocean Phytoplankton. Biogeosciences 6, 779-794, 2009.

Friedrichs, M.A.M., Carr, M-E., Barber, R.T., Scardi, M., Antoine, D., Armstrong, R.A., Asanuma, I., Behrenfeld, M.J., Buitenhuis, E.T., Chai, F., Christian, J.R., Ciotti, A.M., Doney, S.C., Dowell, M., Dunne, J., Gentili, B., Gregg, W., Hoepffner, N., Ishizaka, J., Kameda, T., Lima, I., Marra, J., Mélin, F, Moore, J.K., Morel, A., O'Malley, R.T., O'Reilly, J., Saba, V.S., Schmelt, M., Smyth, T.J., Tjiputra, J., Waters, K., Westberry, T.K., Winguth, A. Assessing the uncertainties of model estimates of primary production in the tropical Pacific ocean. J. Mar. Syst. 76, 113–133, 2009.

Dall’Olmo, G., Westberry, T.K., Behrenfeld, M.J., Boss, E., Slade, W.H. Significant
contribution of large particles to optical backscattering in the open ocean.
Biogeosciences. 6, 947–967, 2009.

Wang, X.J., Behrenfeld, M.J. , Le Borgne, R., Murtugudde, R., Boss, E. Regulation of phytoplankton carbon to chlorophyll ratio by light, nutrients and temperature in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean: a basin-scale model. Biogeosciences. 6, 391-404, 2009.

Wang, X, Le Borgne, R., Murtugudde, R., Busalacchi, A.J., Behrenfeld, M.J. Spatial
and temporal variations in dissolved and particulate organic nitrogen in the equatorial Pacific: biological and physical influences. Biogeosciences 5, 1705-1721, 2008

B. Schneider, L. Bopp, M. Gehlen, J. Segschneider, T. L. Frölicher, P. Cadule, P. Friedlingstein, S. C. Doney, M. J. Behrenfeld, F. Joos.  2008  Climate-induced interannual variability of marine primary and export production in three global coupled climate carbon cycle models. Biogeosciences  5, 597-614

M.J. Behrenfeld, K. Halsey, A. Milligan.  2008.  Evolved Physiological Responses of Phytoplankton to their Integrated Growth Environment.  Phil. Trans. Royal Soc. B 363, doi:10.1098/rstb.2008.0019.

T. Westberry, M.J. Behrenfeld, D.A. Siegel, E. Boss.  2008.  Carbon-based primary productivity modeling with vertically resolved photoacclimation. Global Biogeochem. Cycles . 22, GB2024, doi:10.1029/2007GB003078

M.J. Behrenfeld, D.A. Siegel, R.T. O'Malley.  2008.  Global ocean phytoplankton and productivity.  Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc. July 2008. pp. S56-S61, 2008.

S.C. Doney, I. Lima, J.K. Moore, K. Lindsay, M.J. Behrenfeld, N. Mahowald, M. Maltrud, D.M. Glover, D. McGillicuddy, T. Takahashi.  2008.  Skill metrics for confronting global upper ocean ecosystem-biogeochemistry models against field and remote sensing data.  J. Mar. Syst . 76, 95–112, 2009

M. Friedrick, M.J. Behrenfeld et al.  2008.  Assessing the uncertainties of model estimates of primary production in the tropical Pacific ocean.  J. Mar. Syst. 76, 113–133, 2009.

Y. Hu, K.Powell, M. Vaughan, C. Trepte, C. Weimer, M. Behrenfeld, S. Young, D. Winker, C. Hostetler, W. Hunt, R. Kuehn, D. Flittner, M. Cisewski, G. Gibson, Bing Lin and D. MacDonnell.  2007.  Elevation information in tail (EIT) technique for lidar altimetry.  Optics Express 15, 14504-14515.

Lutz, M.J., K. Caldaira, R.B. Dunbar, M.J. Behrenfeld.  2007. Seasonal rhythms of net primary production and particulate organic carbon flux to depth describe the efficiency of biological pump in the global ocean.  J. Geophys. Res .   112, C10011 doi:10.1029/2006JC003706.

Y. Hu, M. Vaughan, C. McClain, M. Behrenfeld, H. Maring, D. Anderson, S. Sun-Mack, D. Flittner, J Huang, B. Wielicki, P. Minnis, C. Weimer, C. Trepte, R. Kuehn.  2007.  Global statistics of liquid water content and effective number concentration of water clouds over ocean derived from combined CALIPSO and MODIS measurements.  Atmos. Chem. Phys . 7, 3353-3359.

M.J. Behrenfeld, D.Siegel.  2007.  Ocean Productivity - Climate linkages imprinted in satellite observations.  IGBP News Letter 68, 4-7.

M.J. Behrenfeld, R.O'Malley, D.Siegel, C. McClain, J. Sarmiento, G. Feldman, A. Milligan, P. Falkowski, R. Letelier, E. Boss.  2006.  Climate-driven trends in contemporary ocean productivity.  Nature 444, 752-755

M.J. Behrenfeld, K. Worthington, R.M. Sherrell, F. Chavez, P. Strutton, M. McPhaden, D. Shea.  2006.  Controls on tropical Pacific ocean productivity revealed through nutrient stress diagnostics.  Nature 442, 1025-1028

M-E Carr, M.A Friedrichs, M. Schmeltz, M.N. Aita, D. Antoine, K.R. Arrigo, I. Asanuma, O. Aumont, R. Barber, M. Behrenfeld, R. Bidigare, E.T. Buitenhuis, J. Campbell, A. Ciotti, H. Dierssen, M. Dowell, J. Dunne, W. Esaias, B. Gentili, W. Gregg, S. Groom, N. Hoepner, J. Ishizaka, T. Kameda, C. Le Quere, S. Lohrenz, J. Marra, F. Melin, K. Moore, A. Morel, T.E. Reddy, J. Ryan, M. Scardi, T. Smyth, K. Turpie , G. Tilstone, K. Waters, Y. Yamanaka.  2006.  A comparison of global estimates of marine primary production from ocean color.  Deep Sea Res.   53, 741-770

M.J. Behrenfeld, E. Boss. 2006. Beam attenuation and chlorophyll concentration as alternative optical indices of phytoplankton biomass. J. Mar. Res . 64, 431-451.

D.A. Siegel, S. Maritorena, N.B. Nelson, M.J. Behrenfeld, C.R. McClain.  2005.  Colored dissolved organic matter and its influence on the satellite-based characterization of the ocean biosphere.  Geophys. Res. Lett 32, L20605, doi:10.1029/2005GL024310

D.A. Siegel, S. Maritorena, N.B. Nelson, M.J. Behrenfeld. 2005.  Independence and interdependences among global ocean color properties: Reassessing the bio-optical assumption.  J. Geophys. Res . 110, C07011, doi:10.1029/2004JC002527

M.J. Behrenfeld, E. Boss, D. A. Siegel & D. M. Shea  2005. Carbon-based ocean productivity and phytoplankton physiology from space. Global Biogeochem. Cycles , 19, GB1006, doi:10.1029/2004GB002299 (also cited as Editor's Choice in Science 307: 646)

F. Bruyant, M. Babin, B. Genty, O. Prasil, M.J. Behrenfeld, H. Claustre, A. Bricaud, J.
Holtzendorff, M. Koblizek, L. Garczareck & F. Partensky. 2005. Diel variations in the photosynthetic parameters of Prochlorococcus strain PCC 9511: combined effects of light and cell cycle. Limnol. Oceanogr. 50(3): 850-863

H. Havelková-Dousová, O. Prásil, & M. Behrenfeld. 2004.  Photoacclimation of Duneliella tertiolecta (chlorophyceae) to natural light fluctuations simulating vertical mixing.    Photosynthetica . 42:273-281.

M.J. Behrenfeld, O. Prasil, M. Babin & F. Bruyant. 2004. In search of a physiological basis for
covariations in light-limited and light-saturated photosynthesis.  J. Phycology . 40:4-25.

M.J. Behrenfeld, E. Boss. 2003. The beam attenuation to chlorophyll ratio: an optical index of phytoplankton photoacclimation in the surface ocean? Deep Sea Research . 50:1537-1549.

E. Marañón, M.J. Behrenfeld, N. González, B. Mouriño & M.V. Zubkov. 2003.  Variability in primary production in low-nutrient, low-chlorophyll regions of the central Atlantic ocean. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 257:1-11.