CGCS Directory

Prof. Mick Follows

Professor, Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences; and Civil and Environmental Engineering


EAPS, Darwin, CMI

Research Interests:
Mick Follows seeks to understand how the interactions of physical, chemical and biological processes modulate the structure and function of marine microbial communities and regulate the oceanic cycles of carbon and nutrient elements on global and climate scales. Using idealized theory, numerical models and the analysis of observed data he and his group seek to identify the relationships of individuals and communities to their environment, connecting cellular-scale processes to global microbial community structure. In particular, his team has created a marine ecosystem model that, when initialized with many phytoplankton types whose physiological traits have been determined stochastically, results in emergent community structure and biogeography consistent with known distributions of microbes in the global oceans. He is a leader of the Darwin Project.

Selected Publications:

Alice Soccodato, Francesco d'Ovidio, Marina Lévy, Oliver Jahn, Michael J. Follows, Silvia De Monte (2016), Estimating planktonic diversity through spatial dominance patterns in a model ocean, Marine Genomics, doi: 10.1016/j.margen.2016.04.015

Zoe V. Finkel , Mick J. Follows, Justin D. Liefer, Chris M. Brown, Ina Benner, Andrew J. Irwin (2016), Phylogenetic Diversity in the Macromolecular Composition of Microalgae, PLOS one, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155977

Hajoon Song, John Marshall, Michael J. Follows, Stephanie Dutkiewicz, Gaël Forget (2016), Source waters for the highly productive Patagonian shelf in the southwestern Atlantic, Journal of Marine Systems, doi: 10.1016/j.jmarsys.2016.02.009

Lionel GuidiSamuel ChaffronLucie BittnerDamien EveillardAbdelhalim LarhlimiSimon Roux, Mick Followset al. (2016), Plankton networks driving carbon export in the oligotrophic oceanNature, doi: 10.1038/nature16942

Ben A. Ward and Michael J. Follows (2016), Marine mixotrophy increases trophic transfer efficiency, mean organism size, and vertical carbon flux, PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1517118113

Dutkiewicz, S. and Hickman, A. E. and Jahn, O. and Gregg, W. W. and Mouw, C. B. and Follows, M. J. (2015) Capturing optically important constituents and properties in a marine biogeochemical and ecosystem model Biogeosciences, vol. 12, no. 14, pp. 4447-4481, doi: 10.5194/bg-12-4447-2015

Dutkiewicz, S. and Morris, J. J. and Follows, M. J. and Scott, J. and Levitan, O. and Dyhrman, S. T. and Berman-Frank, I. (2015) Impact of ocean acidification on the structure of future phytoplankton communities Nature Climate Change, vol. 5, no. 11, pp. 1002-+, doi: 10.1038/nclimate2722

Levy, M. and Jahn, O. and Dutkiewicz, S. and Follows, M. J. and d'Ovidio, F. (2015) The dynamical landscape of marine phytoplankton diversity Journal of the Royal Society Interface, vol. 12, no. 111, doi: 10.1098/rsif.2015.0481

Sauterey, B. and Ward, B. A. and Follows, M. J. and Bowler, C. and Claessen, D. (2015) When everything is not everywhere but species evolve: an alternative method to model adaptive properties of marine ecosystems Journal of Plankton Research, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 28-47, doi: 10.1093/plankt/fbu078

Villar, E. and Farrant, G. K. and Follows, M. and Garczarek, L., et al. (2015) Environmental characteristics of Agulhas rings affect interocean plankton transport Science, vol. 348, no. 6237, doi: 10.1126/science.1261447

Weitz, J. S. and Stock, C. A. and Wilhelm, S. W. and Bourouiba, L., et al. (2015) A multitrophic model to quantify the effects of marine viruses on microbial food webs and ecosystem processes Isme Journal, vol. 9, no. 6, pp. 1352-1364, doi: 10.1038/ismej.2014.220

Worden, A. Z. and Follows, M. J. and Giovannoni, S. J. and Wilken, S. and Zimmerman, A. E. and Keeling, P. J. (2015) Rethinking the marine carbon cycle: Factoring in the multifarious lifestyles of microbes Science, vol. 347, no. 6223, pp. 735-+, doi: 10.1126/science.1257594

Barton, A.D., Z.V. Finkel, B.A. Ward, D.G. Johns and M.J. Follows, 2013: On the roles of cell size and trophic strategy in North Atlantic diatom and dinoflagellate communities, Limnology and Oceanography, 58(1): 254-66

Fiksen, O., M.J. Follows and D.L. Aksnes, 2013: Trait-based models of nutrient uptake in microbes extend the Michaelis-Menten framework, Limnology and Oceanography, 58(1): 193-202

Ward, B.A., S. Dutkiewicz, O. Jahn and M.J. Follows, 2012: A size-structured food-web model for the global ocean, Limnology and Oceanography, 57(6): 1877-91

Monteiro, F.M. and M.J. Follows, 2012: On nitrogen fixation and preferential remineralization of phosphorus, Geophysical Research Letters, 39(6): L06607

Dutkiewicz, S., B.A. Ward, F. Monteiro, and M.J. Follows, 2013: Interconnection of nitrogen fixers and iron in the Pacific Ocean: Theory and numerical simulations, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 26(1): GB1012

Prowe, A.E.F., M. Pahlow, S. Dutkiewicz, M. Follows, A. Oschlies, 2012: Top-down control of marine phytoplankton diversity in a global ecosystem model, Progress in Oceanography, 101(1): 1-13

Omta, A.W., S. Dutkiewicz and M.J. Follows, 2011: Dependence of the ocean-atmosphere partitioning of carbon on temperature and alkalinity, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 25: GB1003

Saito, M.S., E.M. Bertrand, S. Dutkiewicz, V. Bulygin, D. Moran, F.M. Monteiro, M.J. Follows, F.W. Valois, J.B. Waterbury, 2011: Iron conservation by reduction of metalloenzyme inventories in the marine diazotroph Crocosphaera watsonii, Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(6): 2184-9

Contact Information

t: 617-253-5939


B.S. University of Leeds, UK, 1986
Ph.D. University of East Anglia, UK, 1991