Steven M. Short

Associate Professor / Chair of Biology Biology
(905) 828-3996
(905) 828-3792
Office Location:
DV 3042


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

  • 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)