Douglas C. Nelson

Douglas Nelson

Position Title
Professor Emeritus

  • Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, College of Biological Sciences
  • Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute
266 Briggs Hall

Research Interests

Ecology, physiology, and genetics of chemoautotrophic sulfur bacteria including impact of high in situ pressure. Microbial production of methyl mercury in marine and freshwater sediments. Stimulation and augmentation promoting bacterial production of calcite for improvement of soil mechanical properties.

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Microbiology


  • MIC 105L Microbial diversity, Winter
  • MIC 104L General Microbiology Laboratory, Fall


  • 265 Briggs Hall
    • Lizzy Wilbanks, graduate student; Xiao Hui Lao, research assistant

Field Sites

  • Clear Lake; Monterey Canyon; Walker Creek Estuary

Professional Societies

  • American Society for Microbiology
  • American Society of Limnology and Oceanography


  • 1970 BS Chemistry/Biology Harvey Mudd College
  • 1979 PhD Biology University of Oregon


Ahmad, A, K.M. Kalanetra and D.C. Nelson (2006) Cultivated Beggiatoa spp. define the phylogenetic root of morphologically diverse, noncultured, vacuolate sulfur bacteria. Can. J. Microbiol. 52(6): 591-598.

Fleming, EJ, EE Mack, PG Green and DC Nelson (2006) Mercury methylation from unexpected sources: molybdate-inhibited freshwater sediments and an iron-reducing bacterium. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 72(1):457-464.

Kalanetra, KM, SB Joye, N. Sunseri, and DC Nelson (2005) Novel, Thiomargarita-like bacteria abundant at Gulf of Mexico hydrocarbon seeps, reproduce by reductive division in three dimensions. Environ. Microbiol. 7:1451-1460.

Kalanetra, KM, SL Huston, and DC Nelson (2004) Novel, attached, sulfur-oxidizing bacteria at shallow hydrothermal vents possess vacuoles not involved in respiratory-nitrate accumulation. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 70:7487-7496.

Teske, A and DC Nelson (2004) The genera Beggiatoa and Thioploca. In: M. Dworkin et al., eds., The Prokaryotes: An Evolving Electronic Resource for the Microbiological Community, 3rd edition, release 3.17, Springer-Verlag, New York,

Jorgensen, B.B. and D.C. Nelson (2004) Sulfide oxidation in marine sediments: geochemistry meets microbiology. In: J. Amend, K.J. Edwards and TW Lyonns (eds.), Sulfur Biogeochemistry - Past and Present. Geological Society of America, Special Paper 379, pp. 63-81.

Barry, J.P., K.R. Buck, R.K. Kochevar, D.C. Nelson, Y. Fujiwara, S.K. Goffredi and J. Hashimoto. (2002) Methane-based symbiosis in a mussel, Bathymodiolus platifrons, from cold seeps in Sagami Bay, Japan. Invertebrate Biol. 121:47-54.

Beynon, JD, IJ McRae, SL Huston, DC Nelson, IH Segel and AJ Fisher. (2001) Crystal structure of ATP sulfurylase from the bacterial symbiont of the hydrothermal vent tubeworm Riftia pachyptila. Biochemistry 40: 14509-14517.

Macalady J L, EE Mack, DC Nelson and KM Scow. 2000. Sediment microbial community structure and mercury methylation in mercury-polluted Clear Lake, California. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 66:1479-1488

Ahmad A, JP Barry, and DC Nelson. 1999. Phylogenetic affinity of vacuolate, nitrate-accumulating Beggiatoa sp. (Monterey Canyon, CA) with Thioploca spp. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 65:270-277

Holmen BA, JD Sison, DC Nelson, and WH Casey. 1999. Hydroxamate siderophores, cell growth and Fe(III) cycling in two anaerobic iron oxide media containing Geobacter metallireducens. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 63:225-237

Hagen KD and DC Nelson. 1997. Use of reduced sulfur compounds by Beggiatoa spp: enzymology and physiology of marine and freshwater strains in homogeneous and gradient cultures. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 63:3957-3964