Green Lab

We make decisions every day based on the visible world around us. Yet much of our lives is shaped by what we can't see. The Green Lab wants people to see the important role microbes, ecology and evolution play in every facet of our lives.

Jessica Green

Dr. Jessica Green is an engineer and ecologist who specializes in biodiversity theory and microbial systems. She uses approaches at the interface of microbiology, ecology, and data science to understand and model complex ecosystems with trillions of diverse microorganisms interacting with each other, with humans, and with the environment.  Jessica is a Professor of Biology at the University of Oregon, where she co-directs the Biology and Built Environment Center (BioBE), and is external faculty at the Santa Fe Institute. She has been honored with numerous awards including a Blaise Pascal International Research Chair, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, and a TED Senior Fellowship.  She has received support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, and numerous industry partners.  Jessica received a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from University of California Berkeley, an M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UC Berkeley, and a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Magna Cum Laude from UCLA.

Research Team

Ashley Bateman

Ashley is a PhD student co-advised by Brendan Bohannan. She is interested in the community ecology of host-associated microbial communities and is currently working on elucidating the forces of selection and dispersal that help to shape the variation of microbial communities of the skin.

Ashkaan Fahimipour

Ashkaan has a PhD from UC Riverside, and is a postdoctoral research scholar in the Institute of Ecology & Evolution. His research combines computational and experimental tools to understand how complex ecological systems form, change through time and collapse.

Gwynne Mhuireach

Gwynne Mhuireach received a B.S. in Biology from the University of Washington and a Masters degree in Architecture from the University of Oregon. Currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Landscape Architecture at the University of Oregon with funding from an EPA Science to Achieve Results Fellowship, Gwynne seeks to improve the urban built environment by combining analytical and synthetic problem-solving skills. Her current research focuses on relationships between airborne microbial communities and urban vegetation patterns.

Maria Sarao

Maria is a fourth year student in the Clark Honors College at the UO. She is studying Biology and Spanish and is interested in human-microbial interactions. For her honors thesis she is working with Ashley Bateman and Brendan Bohannan to evaluate methods for quantifying skin-associated bacteria. After graduation, Maria plans on attending medical school so that she can eventually practice medicine in Spanish-speaking regions of the world.

Hannah Wilson

Hannah is the lab manager and research assistant at the Biology and the Built Environment Center. She received both her BS and MS from the University of Oregon in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, with a focus in fungal and plant associations and climate change ecology. She also has a strong background in teaching undergraduate biology and has a passion for promoting scientific literacy. In her spare time she does biological illustrations.

Former Members

Roxana Hickey

2015-2016. Postdoctoral Researcher. Currently Data Scientist at Phylagen, Inc.

Erica Hartmann

2014-2016. Postdoctoral Researcher. Currently Assistant Professor at Northwestern University.

Clarisse Betancourt Roman

2014-2016. Laboratory Manager. Currently Lab Manager working with Dr. Lü at the Van Andel Institute.

Kyla Martichuski

2013-2016. BSc, Biology Department. Currently Fulbright Scholar, New Zealand.

Andrew Siemens

2014-2016. BSc, Biology Department. Currently a Research Technician at the University of Auckland.

Ann Klein

2010-2015. Ph.D. Student. Currently Research Associate in Soil and Conservation Research Group, USDA, Pendleton Oregon.

James Meadow

2012-15. Post-doctoral scholar. Currently Data Scientist at Phylagen, Inc.

Adam Altrichter

2012-2014. Research Assistant. Currently Microbiome Scientist at Phlyagen, Inc.

Holly Arnold

2011-2013. M.S. student. Currently pursuing her Ph.D. at Oregon State University.

Elizabeth Perry

2008-2013. Ph.D. student. Currently Postdoctoral Fellow at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Steven Kembel

2009-2012. Postdoctoral Scholar. Currently Assistant Professor at University of Quèbec, Montréal.

Tim O’Connor

2010-2012. Lab technician at the Biology and the Built Environment Center. Currently Ph.D. student in Noah Whiteman’s laboratory at the University of Arizona.

Keith Herkert

2011-2012. BSc. Clark Honors College, University of Oregon. Currently GPR Hospital Dental Resident at the OHSU School of Dentistry.

Jake Reichman

2011-2012. BSc. University of Oregon. Currently Manager at Wasserman.

James O’Dwyer

2008 – 2010. Postdoctoral Researcher. Currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Plant Biology at the University of Illinois.

Eric Zaneveld

2010. Undergraduate researcher double-majoring in mathematics and biology. Currently PhD student Baylor College of Medicine.

Adam Burns

2009-2010. Honor’s undergraduate student University of Oregon. Recently completed PhD at the University of Oregon.

Kathyrn Docherty

2008-2010. NSF Postdoctoral Fellow in Biological Informatics. Currently Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at Western Michigan University.

Evan Jones

2008-2010. Laboratory technician.

Helene Morlon

2006-2009. Post-doctoral Researcher at UC Merced and the University of Oregon. Currently evolutionary biologist at the Institute of Biology at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris.

Jessica Bryant

2007-2008. M.S. student University of Oregon. Currently research technician in the laboratory of Ed DeLong at MIT.

Ethan White

2005-07. NSF Post-doctoral Fellow, UC Merced. Currently Assistant Professor at the University of Florida and Moore Investigator.


Microbes in the built environment

Humans spend ~90% of their lives indoors, where they are constantly exposed to microbes with every breath of air and every surface touched.  Indoor environments are complex ecosystems that house trillions of diverse microorganisms interacting with each other, with humans, and with their environment. Recent advances in microbiome technology offer the potential to significantly shift our understanding of the built environment microbiome – the totality of microbial cells, their genetic elements, and their interactions indoors.  To realize this potential, the Green Lab is working with the Biology and the Built Environment (BioBE) Center to train a new generation of innovators and practitioners at the architecture-biology interface.  The vision of this national research center, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, is to develop a hypothesis-driven, evidence-based approach to understand the built environment microbiome. Our goal is to optimize the design and operation of buildings to promote both human health and environmental sustainability.

Microbes living in and on hosts

The Green lab has worked on a number of projects to advance understanding of how host-associated microbial communities assemble, interact, evolve and influence host health.  Our earliest work in this area was in tropical rainforests and based on understanding relationships between phyllosphere bacterial communities, which reside on the aerial surfaces of plants, and plant functional traits (see Kembel et al. 2014).  We have since moved to the oceans to study marine plants through the Seagrass Microbiome Project.  Funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, this project aims to answer fundamental questions about seagrass-microbe interactions and reveal insights about seagrass ecology, evolution and function.  We have also contributed to the The Microbial Ecology and Theory of Animals Center for Systems Biology (META Center), a consortium of UO investigators melding the theoretical rigor of ecology with the experimental elegance of gnotobiotic fish models to advance understanding of how animal-associated microbial communities assemble and influence human health and diseases.

Microbiome storytelling

One way to inspire curiosity and appreciation of microbial life is through visualization and storytelling.  For this reason, Jessica Green has partnered with creatives to bring microbiome science to life.  She has worked with illustrator Steve Green on the graphic novella The Tiny Shiny and on a Nautilus piece entitled “Meet the Neighbors You’ll Never See”.   As an element of her 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship, Jessica is co-creating a graphic novel – Noli timere – about the urban microbiome with Steve Green and Anita Doron. Noli timere tells the story of interconnected people in various places around the world, who all become infected with a complex bacteria that gradually shifts their identity and alters their perceptions of self and the world around them, turning identity into an illusion.  Grounded in 21st century science, the novel abolishes the misconception that microorganisms – viruses, bacteria and microscopic fungi – are universally deadly and harmful.


Mhuireach, G., Johnson, B.R., Altrichter, A.E., Ladau, J., Meadow, J.F., Pollard, K.S., Green, J.L.* 2016. Urban greenness influences airborne bacterial community composition.  2016. Science of the Total Environment 571: 680-687.


Hartmann, E.H., Hickey, R., Hsu, Betancourt Román, C.M., Chen, J, Schwager, R., Kline, Brown, G.Z., Halden, R.U., Huttenhower, C., Green, J.L.* 2016. Antimicrobial Chemicals Are Associated with Elevated Antibiotic Resistance Genes in the Indoor Dust Microbiome. Environmental Science and Technology 50 (18), pp 9807–9815.


Klein, A.M., Bohannan, B.J.M., Jaffe, D.A., Levin, D.A., Green, J.L. * 2016.  Molecular Evidence for Metabolically Active Bacteria in the Atmosphere.  Frontiers in Microbiology 7:772 doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.00772.


Adams RI, Bhangar S, Dannemiller KC, Eisen JA, Fierer N, Gilbert JA, Green JL, Marr LC, Miller SL, Siegel JA, Stephens B, Waring MS, Bibby K.  2016.  Ten questions concerning the microbiomes of buildings.  Building and Environment doi: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2016.09.001.


Blaser, M.J., Cardon, Z.G., Cho, M.K., Dangl, J.L., Donohue, T.J., Green, J.L., Knight, R.K., Maxon, M.E., Northen, T.R., Pollard, K.S., Brodie, E.L. 2016.  Toward a Predictive Understanding of Earth’s Microbiomes to Address 21st Century Challenges.  mBio 7:3e00714-1.


Hsu, T., Joice, R., Vallarino, J., Abu-Ali, G., Hartmann, E.M., Shafquat, A., DuLong, C., Baranowski, C., Gevers, D., Green, J.L., Morgan, X.C., Spengler, J.D., and Huttenhower, C. 2016. Urban transit system microbial communities differ by surface type and interaction with humans and environment. DOI: 10.1128/mSystems.00018-16.


Klein (Womack), A., Artaxo, P.E., Ishida, F.Y., Mueller, R.C., Saleska, S.R., Wiedemann, K.T., Bohannan, B.J.M., Green, J.L. 2015. Characterization of active and total fungal communities in the atmosphere over the Amazon rainforest. Biogeosciences 12, 6337-6349, doi:10.5194/bg-12-6337-2015.


Alivisatos, A.P., Blaser, M.J., Brodie, E.L., Chun, M., Dangl, J.L., Donohue, T.J., Dorrestein, P.C., Gilbert, J., Green, J.L., Jansson, J.K., Knight, R., Maxon, M.E., McFall-Ngai, M.J., Miller, J.F., Pollard, K.S., Ruby, E.J., Taha, S. 2015. Unified Microbiome Initiative Consortium. A unified initiative to harness Earth’s microbiomes. Science 350 (6260): 507-508, doi: 10.1126/science.aac8480.


Meadow, J.F., Altrichter, A.E., Bateman, A., Stenson, J., Brown, G.Z., Green, J.L., Bohannan, B.J.M. 2015. Humans differ in their personal microbial cloud. PeerJ 3:e1258.


Morlon, H., O’Connor, T.K., Bryant, J.A., Charkoudian, L.K., Docherty, K.M., Jones, E., Kembel, S.W., Green, J.L., Bohannan, B.J.M. 2015. The biogeography of putatitive microbial antibiotic production. PLoS ONE 10(6): e0130659.


Kembel, S.W., O’Connor, T.K., Arnold, H.K., Hubbell, S.P., Wright, S.J., Green, J.L. 2014. Relationships between phyllosphere bacterial communities and plant functional traits in a neotropical forest. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111(38): 13715 – 13720.


Meadow, J.F., Altrichter, A.E., Green, J.L., 2014. Mobile phones carry the personal microbe of their owners. Peer J 2:3447.


Marguet, P.A., Allen, A.P, Brown, J.H., Dunne, J.A., Enquist, B.J., Gilooly, J.F., Gowaty, P.A., Green, J.L., Harte, J, Hubbell, S., O’Dwyer, J., Okie, J.G., Ostling, J, Ritchie, M., Storch, D., West, G.B. 2014. On Theory in Ecology. BioScience 64 (8):701-710.


Green, J.L. 2014. Can bioinformed design promote healthy indoor ecosystems? Indoor Air 24(2): 113-115.


Meadow, J.F., Altrichter, A.E., Kembel, S.W., Moriyama, M., O’Connor, T.K., Womack, A.M., Brown, G.Z., Green, J.L., Bohannan, B.J.M. 2014. Bacterial communities on classroom surfaces vary with human contact. Microbiome 2(7).


Kembel, S.W., Meadow, J.F., O’Connor, T.K., Mhuireach, G., Northcutt, D., Kline, J., Moriyama, M., Brown, G.Z., Bohannan, B.J., Green, J.L. 2014. Architectural design drives the biogeography of indoor bacterial communities. PLoS ONE DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0087093.


Meadow, J.F., Altrichter, A.E., Kembel, S.W., Kline, J., Mhuireach, G., Moriyama, M., Northcutt, D., O’Connor, T.K., Womack, A.M., Brown, G.Z., Green, J.L., Bohannan, B.J.M. 2014. Indoor airborne bacterial communities are influenced by ventilation, occupancy, and outdoor air source. Indoor Air 24(1): 41-48.


Meadow, J., Bateman, A.C., Herkert, K.M., O’Connor, T.K., Green, J.L. 2013. Significant changes in the skin microbiome mediated by the sport of roller derby. PeerJ e53.


Ladau, J., Sharpton, T., J., Finucane, M.M., Jospin, G., Kembel, S.W., O’Dwyer, J., Koeppel, A.F., Green, J.L., Pollard, K.S. 2013. Global marine bacterial diversity peaks at high latitudes in winter. ISME Journal 7: 1669-1667.


O’Dwyer, J.P., Kembel, S.W., Green, J.L. 2012. Phylogenetic Diversity Theory Sheds Light on the Structure of Microbial Communities. PLoS Computational Biology 8(12): e1002832.


Kembel, S., Wu, M., Eisen, J., Green, J.L. 2012. Incorporating 16S gene copy number information improves estimates of microbial diversity and abundance. PLoS Computational Biology 8: e1002743.


Kembel, S.W., Jones, E., Kline. J., Northcutt, D., Stenson, J., Womack, A.M., Bohannan, B.J.M., Brown, G.Z., Green, J.L. 2012. Architectural design influences the diversity and structure of the built environment microbiome. ISME Journal 6: 1469-1479.


Green, J.L. Lady Lumps’s Mouthguard. 2012. In Microbes and Evolution: The World That Darwin Never Saw, edited by Stanley Maloy and Roberto Kolter. ASM Press, Washington D.C.


Kembel, S.W., Eisen, J.A., Pollard, K.S., Green, J.L. 2011. The Phylogenetic Diversity of Metagenomes. PLoS ONE 6(8): e23214. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023214.


Sharpton, T.J., Riesenfeld, S.J.,  Kembel, S. W., Ladau, J., O’Dwyer, J.P., Green, J.L., Eisen, J.A., Pollard, K.S.. PhylOTU: A High-Throughput Procedure Quantifies Microbial Community Diversity and Resolves Novel Taxa from Metagenomic Data. 2011. PLoS Computational Biology 7(1): e1001061.


Morlon, H., Schwilk, D.W., Bryant, J.A., Marquet, P.A., Rebelo, A.G., Tauss, C., Bohannan, B.J.M., Green. J.L.  2010. Spatial patterns of phylogenetic diversity. Ecology Letters. 14: 141-149.


Womack, A., Bohannan, B.J.M., Green, J.L. Biodiversity and biogeography of the atmosphere. 2010. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 365: 3645 – 3653.


Klepac-Ceraj, V., Lemon, K. P., Martin, T. R., Allgaier, M., Kembel, S. W., Knapp, A. A., Lory, S., Brodie, E. L., Lynch, S. V., Bohannan, B. J. M.4; Green, J. L., Maurer, B. A., Kolter, R. 2010. Relationship between cystic fibrosis respiratory tract bacterial communities and age, genotype, antibiotics and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.Environmental Microbiology 12: 1293-1303.

O’Dwyer, J., & Green, J.L. 2009. Field theory for biogeography: a spatially explicit model for predicting patterns of biodiversity. Ecology Letters 13: 87 – 95.


Gotelli, N.J., Anderson, M.J., Arita, H.T., Chao, A., Colwell, R.K., Connolly, S.R., Currie, D.J., Dunn, R.R., Graves, G.R., Green, J.L., Grytnes, J., Jiang, Y., Jetz, W., Lyons, S.K., McCain, K., Magurran, A.E., Rahbek, C., Rangel, T., Soberón, J., Webb, C.O., Willig, M.R. 2009. Patterns and causes of species richness: a general simulation model for macroecology. Ecology Letters 12:873-886.


O’Dwyer, J., Lake, J., Ostling, A., Savage, V., Green, J.L. 2009. An integrative framework for stochastic, size- structured community assembly. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106: 6170-6175.


Morlon, H., White, E.P, Etienne, R., Green, J.L., Ostling, A., Alonso, D., Enquist, B.J., He, F.H., Hurlbert, A., Magurran, A.E., Maurer, B.A., McGill, B.J., Olff, H., Storch, D., Zillio, T. Taking species abundance distributions beyond individuals. 2009. Ecology Letters 12: 488-501.


Zillio, T., Banavar, J., Green, J.L., Harte, J., Maritan, A. 2008. Incipient criticality in ecological communities. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105: 18714-18717.


Bryant, J.B., Lamanna, C., Morlon, H., Kerkhoff, A.J., Enquist, B.J., Green, J.L. 2008. Microbes on mountainsides: Contrasting elevational patterns of bacterial and plant diversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105: S1505-S11511.


Green, J.L., Bohannan, B.J.M., Whitaker, R.J. 2008. Microbial biogeography: from taxonomy to traits. Science 320: 1039-1043.


Fuhrman, J.A., Steele, J.A., Hewson, I., Schwalbach, M.S., Brown, M., Green, J.L., Brown, J. 2008. A latitudinal gradient of marine bacterioplankton. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105: 7774 – 7778.


Morlon, H., Chuyong, G., Condit, R., Hubbell, S., Kenfack, D., Thomas, D., Valencia, R., Green, J.L. 2008. A general framework for the distance-decay of similarity in ecological communities. Ecology Letters 11: 904-917.


White, E., Enquist, B.,Green, J.L. 2008. On estimating the exponent of power-law frequency distributions. Ecology 89: 905-912.


Green, J.L. and J.B. Plotkin. 2007. A statistical theory for sampling species abundances. Ecology Letters 10: 1037-1045.


McGill, B.J., Etienne, R.S., Gray, J.S., Alonso, D., Anderson, M.J., Benecha, H.K., Dornelas, M., Enquist, B.J., Green, J.L., He, F., Hurlburt, A.H., Magurran, A.E., Marquet, P., Maurer, B.A., Ostling, A., Soykan, C.U., Ugland, K.I., White, E.P. 2007. Species abundance distributions: moving beyond single prediction theories to integration within an ecological framework. Ecology Letters 10: 995-1015.


Prosser, J.I., Bohannan B.J.M., Curtis, T.P., Ellis, R.J., Firestone, M.K., Freckleton, R.P., Green, J.L., Green, L.E., Killham, K., Lennon, J.L., Osborn, M.A., Solan, M., van der Gast, C.J., Young, J.P. 2007. The Role of Ecological Theory in Microbial Ecology. Nature Reviews Microbiology 5: 384-392.


Horner-Devine, M.C., Silver, J., Leibold, M.A., Bohannan, B., Colwell, R.K., Fuhrman, J.A., Green, J.L., Kuske, C.R., Hughes Martiny, J.B., Overeas, L., Reysenback, A-L, Smith, V., Muyzer, G. 2007. A comparison of taxon co-occurrence patterns for macro- and microorganisms.  Ecology 86: 1345-1353.


Green, J.L., Bohannan B.J.M. 2006. Spatial scaling of microbial biodiversity. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 21:501-507.


Horner-Devine, M.C.,Green, J.L., Bohannan B.J.M. 2006. Patterns in biodiversity: are prokaryotes different? In Prokaryotic Diversity: Mechanisms and Significance. Editor H.M. Lappin-Scott. Society for General Microbiology, Reading, U.K.Harte, J.Hughes-Martiny, J.B., Bohannan, B.J.M., Brown, J.H., Colwell, R.K., Fuhrman, J., Green, J.L., Horner-Devine, M.C., Kange, J.A., Krumins, C., Morin, P., Naeem, S., Overeas, L., Reysenback, A-L, Smith, V., Staley, J. 2006 Microbial biogeography: putting microbes on the map.Nature Reviews Microbiology 4: 102-112.


Green, J.L., Hastings , A., Arzberger, P., Ayala, F., Cottingham, K., Cuddington, K., Davis, F., Dunne, J., Fortin, M.J., Gerber, L., Neubert, M. 2005. Complexity in ecology and conservation: mathematical, statistical, and computational challenges. Bioscience 55: 501 – 510.


Harte, J., Conlisk, E., Ostling, A., Green, J.L., Smith, A.B. 2005. A theory of spatial-abundance and species-abundance distributions in ecological communities at multiple spatial scales. Ecological Monographs 75: 179 – 197.


Green, J.L., Holmes, A.J., Westoby, M., Oliver, Briscoe, D., Dangerfield, M., Gillings, M., Beattie, A. Spatial scaling of microbial eukaryote diversity. 2004. Nature 430: 135 – 138.


Harte, J., Ostling, A., Green, J.L., Kinzig, A. 2004. Climate change and extinction risk. Nature 430: 135 – 138.


Ostling, A., Harte, J., Green, J.L., Kinzig, A. 2004. Self-similarity, the power-law form of the species-area relationship, and a probability rule: a reply to Maddux. American Naturalist 163: 627 – 633.


Green, J.L., Ostling, A. 2003. Endemics-area relationships: the influence of species dominance and spatial aggregation. Ecology 84: 3090 – 3097.


Ostling, A., Harte, J., Green, J.L., Kinzig, A.P. 2003. A community level fractal property produces power-law species-area relationships. Oikos 103: 218 – 224.


Green, J.L., Harte, J., Ostling, A. 2003. Species richness, endemism and abundance patterns: tests of two fractal models in a serpentine grassland. Ecology Letters 6: 919-928.


Green, J.L., Harte, J., Ostling, A., 2001. Climate change and biodiversity loss, in Biotic Homogenization: the Loss of Diversity Through Invasion and Extinction. Edited by J. L. Lockwood and M. McKinney, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York.


Ostling, A., Harte, J., Green, J.L. 2000. Self-similarity and clustering in the spatial distribution of species. Science 290: 671a.


Banavar, J.R., Green, J.L., Harte, J., Maritan, A., 1999. Finite size scaling in ecology. Physical Review Letters 83(20): 4212-4214.


Harte, J., Kinzig, A., Green, J.L. 1999. On the distribution and abundance of species: reply to Maddux. Science 286: 1647a.


Harte, J., Kinzig, A., Green, J.L. 1999. Self-similarity in the distribution and abundance of species. Science 284: 334-336.


Jessica Green, lead PI of the lab, reports:

I am a Professor at the University of Oregon and I hold an external faculty appointment at the Santa Fe Institute.


Previously I was an Assistant Professor at The University of California, Merced.


I am co-founder and CTO of Phylagen. I receive salary and stock options as compensation.


I am on the Science Advisory Board of PhylosBiosciece and receive stock options as compensation.


I am represented by the Lavin Agency and receive cash compensation for speaking events.


I have received grants for my research from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Gordonnand Betty Moore Foundation, the Smithsonian Institute, NSF, NIH, DARPA, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and Region Ile-de-France.




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Institute of Ecology and Evolution

5289 University of Oregon

Eugene, OR 97403-5289

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Institute of Ecology and Evolution

1025 University St, Pacific 335

5289 University of Oregon

Eugene, OR 97403-5289