Dana E Hunt


Assistant Professor of Microbial Ecology

My research focus is on understanding the ecology of microbes through examination of their genes and lifestyles. Bacteria are the most diverse organisms on earth and play a pivotal role in planetary cycling of nutrients and energy. Yet, we have a poor understanding of the factors that drive their diversity and dynamics in the environment. The lab's emphasis is on studying bacterial interactions with the environment at the appropriate temporal and spatial scale including the effect of temperature changes on bacterial populations and bacterial interactions with other organisms. Another area of active research is the response and adaptation of bacteria to emerging pollutants such as antibiotics and nanoparticles.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Assistant Professor of Microbial Ecology
  • Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 135 Duke Marine Lab Rd, Beaufort, NC 28516
  • Office Phone: (252) 504-7542
  • Email Address: dana.hunt@duke.edu
  • Websites:


  • Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2008

Courses Taught

  • BIOLOGY 293A-1: Research Independent Study
  • BIOLOGY 293A: Research Independent Study
  • BIOLOGY 319A: Coastal Watershed Science and Policy
  • BIOLOGY 380LA: Marine Molecular Microbiology
  • ENERGY 396-1: Connections in Energy: Interdisciplinary Team Projects
  • ENERGY 396: Connections in Energy: Interdisciplinary Team Projects
  • ENERGY 796-1: Connections in Energy: Interdisciplinary Team Projects
  • ENERGY 796: Connections in Energy: Interdisciplinary Team Projects
  • ENVIRON 321A: Coastal Watershed Science and Policy
  • ENVIRON 383LA: Marine Molecular Microbiology
  • ENVIRON 393A: Research Independent Study
  • ENVIRON 593: Independent Studies and Projects
  • ENVIRON 822A: Coastal Watershed and Policy
  • ENVIRON 825LA: Marine Molecular Microbiology
  • ENVIRON 849A: Doctoral Student Seminar and Professional Development
  • EOS 393A: Research Independent Study

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Duan, Y; Xie, N; Song, Z; Ward, CS; Yung, C-M; Hunt, DE; Johnson, ZI; Wang, G, A High-Resolution Time Series Reveals Distinct Seasonal Patterns of Planktonic Fungi at a Temperate Coastal Ocean Site (Beaufort, North Carolina, USA)., Applied and Environmental Microbiology, vol 84 no. 21 (2018) [10.1128/aem.00967-18] [abs].
  • Zhang, T; Pan, J-F; Hunt, DE; Chen, M; Wang, B, Organic matter modifies biochemical but not most behavioral responses of the clam Ruditapes philippinarum to nanosilver exposure., Marine Environmental Research, vol 133 (2018), pp. 105-113 [10.1016/j.marenvres.2017.10.016] [abs].
  • Ward, CS; Yung, C-M; Davis, KM; Blinebry, SK; Williams, TC; Johnson, ZI; Hunt, DE, Annual community patterns are driven by seasonal switching between closely related marine bacteria., The Isme Journal, vol 11 no. 6 (2017), pp. 1412-1422 [10.1038/ismej.2017.4] [abs].
  • Garcia, NS; Yung, C-M; Davis, KM; Rynearson, T; Hunt, DE, Draft Genome Sequences of Three Bacterial Isolates from Cultures of the Marine Diatom Thalassiosira rotula., Genome Announcements, vol 5 no. 18 (2017) [10.1128/genomea.00316-17] [abs].
  • McMurray, SE; Johnson, ZI; Hunt, DE; Pawlik, JR; Finelli, CM, Selective feeding by the giant barrel sponge enhances foraging efficiency, Limnology and Oceanography, vol 61 no. 4 (2016), pp. 1271-1286 [10.1002/lno.10287] [abs].