Eric Becraft, PhD

Postdoctoral Scientist
Microbial ecologist/Evolutionary microbiologist
Phone: +1 (207) 315-2567, ext. 405
Fax: +1 (207) 315-2329

For media inquiries, please contact


A.S, Biology, Del Mar College, 2002

B.S.,Microbiology, University of Texas at Austin,2005

Ph.D.,Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Montana State University, 2013

Research Interests

I am interested in the identification of uncultured Bacterial and Archaeal phyla and their contributions to the evolutionary history of microbial life on Earth. The study of microbial diversity, ecology, and evolution in the context of microbial community structure and function.Microbial speciation and genetic modes of adaptation. The co-evolution of microbial partnerships and symbiotic interactions. Microbiology in extreme terrestrial and extraterrestrial environments. Geochemical cycling and the role microorganisms play on a global scale.


  • Becraft, E.D., Cohan, F.M., Kühl, M., Jensen, S.I., and Ward, D.M. (2011). Fine-scale distribution patterns of Synechococcus ecological diversity in the microbial mat of Mushroom Spring, Yellowstone National Park.Appl. Environ. Microbiol. Vol 77: 7689–7697.
  • Ward, D.M., Melendrez, M.M., Becraft, E.D., Klatt, C.G., Wood, J.M., Cohan, F.M. (2011). Metagenomic approaches for the identification of microbial species. Handbook of Molecular Microbial Ecology, Volume 1; Metagenomics and Complementary Approaches, First Edition. Edited by Franis J. de Bruijn, Wiley-Blackwell. Chapter 13; 105-109.
  • Steunou, A., Jensen, S.I., Brecht, E., Becraft, E., Bateson, M.M., Kilian, O., Bhaya, D., Ward, D.M., Peters, J.W., Grossman, A.R., Kühl, M. (2008). Regulation of nif gene expression and the energetics of N2 fixation over the diel cycle in a hot spring microbial mat. ISME Journal, 2, 364–378.
  • Becraft, E. D., Dodsworth, J. A., Murugapiran, S. K., Ohlsson, J. I., Briggs, B. R., Kanbar, J., Vlaminck, I, Quake, S. R., Dong, H., Hedlund, B. P. and Swingley, W. D. Genomic analyses of “dark matter” candidate phylum EM19 populations in geothermal springs using a novel read-first binning method. Submitted.
  • Becraft, E. D., Wood, J. M., Rusch, D. B., Kühl, M., Jensen, S. I., Bryant, D. A., Roberts, D. W., Cohan, F. M., and Ward, D. M. Ecological distinctions among, and homogeneity within, putative ecotypes of Synechococcus inhabiting the cyanobacterial mat of Mushroom Spring, Yellowstone National Park. Frontiers of Microbiology. In press.
  • Nowack, S., Olsen, M. T., Schaible, G. A., Becraft, E. D., Shen, G., Klapper, I., Bryant, D. A., and Ward, D. M. Synechococcus isolates representative of putative ecotypes inhabiting different depths in the Mushroom Spring microbial mat exhibit different adaptive and acclimative responses to light. Frontiers of Microbiology. In press.
  • Olsen, M.T., Nowack, S., Wood, J.M., Becraft, E.D., Labutti, K., Lipzen, A., Martin, J., Schackwitz, W.S., Rusch, D.B., Cohan, F.M., Bryant, D.A., and Ward, D.M. (2015). Comparative genomics of Synechococcus isolates with different light responses and in situ diel transcription patterns of associated putative ecotypes in the Mushroom Spring microbial mat. Frontiers of Microbiology. In press.
  • Kim,.Y., Nowack, S., Olsen, M.T., Becraft, E. D., Wood, J.M., Thiel, V., Klapper, I., Kühl, M., Bryant, D. A., Fredrickson, J. K., Ward, D. M., and Metz, T.O. (2015). Metabolomics analysis of a Yellowstone National Park hot spring chlorophototrophic microbial mat over a diel cycle supports hypothesized metabolisms of predominant mat inhabitants. Frontiers of Microbiology. In press.
  • Melendrez, M.C., Wood, J. M., Becraft, E. D., Cohan, F. M., Heidelberg, J. F., Rusch, D. B., and Ward, D. M. (2015). The relative importance of recombination and selection on the evolution of Synechococcus species inhabiting a hot spring cyanobacterial mat. PNAS. Submitted.

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