Steven M. Short

Associate Professor / Chair of Biology


Broadly speaking, my research focuses on the molecular ecology of aquatic microorganisms. As the major primary producers in freshwater and marine ecosystems, phytoplankton are key components of aquatic food webs and global biogeochemical cycles. Viruses are now known to be abundant in all aquatic environments and many parasitize phytoplankton suggesting that they are important agents of phytoplankton mortality and are themselves key players in aquatic food webs. Hence, my research focuses on understanding the role of viruses in phytoplankton ecology. To that end, I use quantitative molecular techniques to examine virus and phytoplankton community and population dynamics in both natural environments and laboratory cultures.

Student Opportunities

Students interested in microbial ecology and aquatic microbiology research should contact me directly to discuss opportunities for graduate studies in my lab.

Selected Publications

  • D. Shea, N. Frazer, K. Wadhawan, A. Bateman, S. Li, K. M. Miller, S. Short, M. Krkosek*. 2022. Environmental DNA Dispersal from Atlantic Salmon Farms. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, in press.
  • S. L. Cheung, S. M. Short, D. G. Allen. 2022. The influence of wastewater pretreatment, attachment material, and inoculation strategy on the growth of target algal species in cultivated biofilms. Journal of Applied Phycology, 34: 113-2022. DOI: 10.1007/s10811-021-02637-3
  • C. N. Palermo, D. W. Shea, S. M. Short. 2021. Analysis of different size fractions provides a more complete perspective of viral diversity in a freshwater embayment. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 87 (11), e00197-21. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.00197-21
  • D. Shea, A. Bateman, S. Li, A. Tabata, A. Schulze, G. Mordecai, L. Ogston, J. P. Volpe6, L. N. Frazer, B. Connors, K. M. Miller, S. Short* and *M. Krkošek. 2020. Environmental DNA from multiple pathogens is elevated near active Atlantic salmon farms. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 287, 20202010.
  • A. J. Paquette, C. E. Sharp, P. J. Schnurr, D. G. Allen, S. M. Short* and G. S. Espie*. 2020. Dynamic changes in community composition of Scenedesmus-seeded artificial, engineered microalgal biofilms. Algal Research, 46, 101805.
  • S. L. Cheung, D. G. Allen, S. M. Short. 2020. Specific quantification of Scenedesmus obliquus and Chlorella vulgaris in mixed-species algal biofilms. Bioresource Technology 295, 122251.
  • S. M. Short, M. A. Staniewski, Y. V. Chaban, A. M. Long, D. Wang. (2020). Diversity of viruses infecting eukaryotic algae. Current Issues in Molecular Biology. 39: 29-62.
  • C. N. Palermo, R. R. Fulthorpe, R. Saati, S. M. Short. 2019. Metagenomic Analysis of Virus Diversity and Relative Abundance in a Eutrophic Freshwater Harbour. Viruses 11 (9): 792.
  • J. M. A. Stough, N. Yutin, Y. V. Chaban, M. Moniruzzaman, E. R. Gann, H. L. Pound, M. M. Steffen, J. N. Black, E. V. Koonin, S. W. Wilhelm, S. M. Short. 2019. Genome and Environmental Activity of a Chrysochromulina parva Virus and its Virophages. Frontiers in Microbiology 10: 703.
  • S. R. Coy, E. R. Gann, H. L. Pound, S. M. Short, S. W. Wilhelm. 2018. Viruses of eukaryotic algae: diversity, methods for detection, and future directions. Viruses 10, 487.
  • A. M. Long, M. A. Staniewski, S. W. Wilhelm, S. M. Short. 2018. Algal viruses and cyanophages have distinct distributions in Lake Erie sediments. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 82: 161-175.
  • M. A. Staniewski, S. M. Short. 2018. Methodological Review and Meta-Analysis of Dilution Assays for Estimates of Virus- and Grazer-Mediated Phytoplankton Mortality. Limnology and Oceanography: Methods 16: 649-668.
  • M. A. Staniewski, M. Fitzpatrick, I. F. Munawar, M. Munawar, S. M. Short. 2017. The influence of viruses on phytoplankton and bacterial productivity in Hamilton Harbour, an impaired embayment of Lake Ontario. Journal of Great Lakes Research 43: 1055–1066.
  • Long, A. M. and Short, S. M. Seasonal determinations of algal virus decay rates reveal over-wintering in a temperate freshwater pond. The ISME Journal, in press.
  • Mirza, S. F., Staniewski, M. A., Short, C. M., Long, A. M., Chaban, Y. V., and Short, S. M. 2015. Isolation and characterization of a virus infecting the freshwater algae Chrysochromulina parva. Virology 486: 105-115.
  • Staniewski, M. A., Short, S. M. 2014. Potential viral stimulation of primary production observed during experimental determinations of phytoplankton mortality. Aquatic Microbial Ecology, 71: 239-256.
  • Rozon, R. M., Short, S. M. 2013. Complex seasonality observed amongst diverse phytoplankton viruses in the Bay of Quinte, an embayment of Lake Ontario. Freshwater Biology, 58: 2648-2663.
  • Staniewski, M. A., Short, C. M., Short, S. M. 2012. Contrasting community versus population- based estimates of grazing and virus-induced mortality of phytoplankton. Microbial Ecology 64: 25-38.
  • Short, S. M. 2012. The ecology of viruses that infect eukaryotic algae. Environmental Microbiology, 14: 2253-2271.
  • Short, C.M., Rusanova, O., and Short., S.M. 2011. Quantification of virus genes provides evidence for seed-bank populations of phycodnaviruses in Lake Ontario, Canada. The ISME Journal 5: 810-821.
  • Short, S.M., Rusanova, O., and Staniewski, M.A. 2011. Novel phycodnavirus genes amplified from Canadian freshwater environments. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 63: 61-67.
  • Weinbauer, M.G., Bonilla-Findji, O., Chan, A.M., Dolan, J.R., Short, S.M., Simek, K., Wilhelm, S.W., Suttle, C.A. 2011. Synechococcus growth in the ocean may depend on the lysis of heterotrophic bacteria. Journal of Plankton Research  33: 1465-1476.
  • Short, S.M. & Short, C.M. 2009. Quantitative PCR reveals transient and persistent algal virus in Lake Ontario, Canada. Environmental Microbiology, 11(10): 2639-2648.
  • Short S.M., Short, C.M. 2008. Diversity of algal viruses in various North American freshwater environments. Aquatic Microbial Ecology, 51: 13-21.
  • Short, S.M., Zehr, J.P. 2007. Nitrogenase gene expression in the Chesapeake Bay estuary. Environmental Microbiology, 9 (6): 1591-1596.
  • Short, S.M., Jenkins, B.D., Zehr, J.P. 2004. Spatial and temporal distribution of two diazotrophic bacteria in the Chesapeake Bay. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 70: 2186-2192.
  • Short, S.M., Suttle, C.A. 2003. Temporal dynamics of natural communities of marine algal viruses and eukaryotes. Aquatic Microbial Ecology,32: 107-119.
  • Short, S.M., Suttle, C.A. 2002.Sequence analysis of marine virus communities reveals groups of related algal viruses are widely distributed in nature. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 68: 1290-1296.


Current Courses
BIO215S (Laboratory in Molecular Biology & Genetics); BIO373S (Microbial Ecology)