University of South Florida

We’ll fix *your* carbon...

Giant Riftia worms from a hydrothermal vent on the East Pacific Rise.  Vent communities such as this one are sustained entirely by carbon fixation by autotrophic microorganisms that use geothermally-produced reduced chemicals for energy.

Scott Lab Introduction

We study  inorganic carbon uptake and fixation by autotrophic microorganisms, with an emphasis on marine systems, including deep-sea hydrothermal vents as well as ocean surface communities.


We care about these processes since carbon fixed by autotrophic microorganisms is a substantial fraction of the organic carbon that enters  food webs (though if you consider chloroplasts to be derived cyanobacteria…’substantial’ = ‘all’).  These organisms are diverse in every possible way.   Autotrophs populate the tree of life in all three domains; accordingly, different species of autotrophs are wildly different from eachother with respect to energy sources used (e.g., sunlight, versus redox-sensitive chemicals) and biochemistries (there are currently *6* known autotrophic carbon fixation pathways, with more on the horizon).  They thrive in benign-to-impossible habitats, and the significance of their role(s) in biogeochemical cycles beyond carbon is impossible to overstate.


We use a variety of approaches, including bioinformatics, molecular manipulation, chemostat cultivation, mass spectrometry … whatever it takes.  Sometimes we get lucky and do fieldwork.


KT Scott, USF IB Dept.

4202 East Fowler Avenue

110 SCA

Tampa, FL 33620



4202 East Fowler Avenue

NES 107

Tampa, FL 33620



To contact us:

Phone: 813-974-5173


Artwork by D. Nicholson