Grieg Steward is a Professor in the Department of Oceanography and a member of the Daniel K. Inouye Center for Microbial Oceanography–Research and Education (CMORE). He studies the many microscopic forms of life in the ocean: phytoplankton, bacteria and archaea, and viruses. One of his main research goals is to better characterize the incredible diversity of viruses in the ocean, and determine how viral infections of marine plankton affect the marine food web. His current work on viruses includes studies in the surface waters of the ocean, as well as investigations of the unusual microbes inhabiting the ocean crust deep below the seafloor. This work has led to many exciting discoveries in his lab, from the largest phytoplankton-infecting virus ever described to the deepest viruses ever recorded. Another major research focus is on a type of bacteria (vibrios) that naturally inhabit the coastal waters of Hawaiʻi, but which can also cause disease in humans. This work includes studies of these bacteria in waters used for recreation, like the Ala Wai Canal, and local fishponds used for food production. His goal is to understand where and when these bacteria will grow to high levels in order to better predict and minimize the risks of infection. Besides the many local projects in the coastal and offshore waters around Hawaiʻi, his worked has spanned all of the world oceans, from the Arctic and Antarctic. He draws on this breadth of field experience to inform his teaching of ocean science to undergraduate (OCN 201 Science of the Sea) and graduate students (OCN 626 Marine Microplankton Ecology). In addition to classroom teaching, Prof. Steward mentors high school, college, and graduate students on research projects and strives to stimulate public interest in science through public lectures and appearances on local radio and TV broadcasts.
Department of Oceanography