Emily Johnston


I’m a PhD candidate in the Sherwood Algal Biodiversity Laboratory in the Department of Botany. My research focuses on the evolutionary and ecological circumstances surrounding transitions between marine and terrestrial habitats, specifically in biofilms at the land/ocean interface found in Hawaii and on the North American mainland. I also use bioinformatics and databases to uncover the evolutionary stories hidden in “big” data. The muse of my dissertation is the Hawaiian alga Spongiochrysis hawaiiensis, whose ancestor is hypothesized to have switched from a marine to terrestrial habitat without a freshwater intermediate stage, something that is extraordinarily rare in the history of life on Earth. Someday I hope to work for NASA studying how microbial life transitions to extraterrestrial habitats. My previous research at Ohio University focused on the systematics of freshwater red algae and the diversity of freshwater algae in Indonesia and Malaysia. More information about my research can be found here: http://www.ejohnstonresearch.org/.

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