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Earth System Science

Anna Rasmussen

I am a 4th year PhD Candidate in the Department of Earth System Science at Stanford University focused on geomicrobiology. Under the direction of Chris Francis, I use molecular and biogeochemical approaches to understand the abundance, distribution, and activity of nitrogen-cycling bacteria and archaea in San Francisco Bay. By examining DNA, RNA, nitrification rates, and historical water quality data, I hope to connect the ecology of microorganisms to biogeochemical cycling in the Bay and give insight into how the system may change in the future. While I love to go sampling on the boat, most of my time is spent wrangling data in R.
I graduated from Amherst College where I participated in my first research experiences. I spent one summer studying plant evolution and then completed a senior honors thesis studying virulence of environmental strains of Vibrio cholera in fruit flies. I spent several years exploring career options, working on a silviculture crew with the USFS, interning at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Marine Lab in Florida, working in a plant-fungus symbiosis lab at UCSB, and working at MIT studying the world’s most abundant cyanobacteria, Prochlorococcus. All of these experiences fueled my passion for ecology, microbes, and oceanography, and led me to apply to graduate school. I am a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, Amherst College Memorial Fellow, McGee Research Grant recipient, Stanford Data Science Scholar, and a Rising Environmental Leaders Program participant.