The deep-sea is the Earth’s last frontier of exploration; thus, my research interests are examining the activity and ecology of archaea and bacteria that colonize marine sediments. Deep-sea microbial communities play an important role in the biogeochemical cycling of major elements (such as carbon, nitrogen and sulphur). By investigating the activity and diversity of deep-sea microbes, and the variables that affect community structure, we can begin to predict how these ecosystems may shift in the face of climate change, and whether they will act in positive or negative feedbacks to rising ocean temperatures. Furthermore, examining the ecology and metabolic activity of modern deep-sea ecosystems, we can begin to untangle the complex interactions between marine microbes and their environments, and extrapolate these relationships into the geological past to understand the co-evolution of life and Earth’s surficial environment.

Honors & Awards

  • Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Fellow, Stanford Graduate Fellowship, Stanford University (2016-present)
  • Nexen Wardlaw Scholarship in Geoscience, University of St Andrews (2013–2016)
  • The Principal’s Scholarship for Academic Excellence, University of St Andrews (2016)
  • Davidson Award, University of St Andrews (2016)
  • Irving Award, University of St Andrews (2014, 2016)
  • Mineralogical Society Award, University of St Andrews (2015)
  • BP Field Mapping Prize, University of St Andrews (2014, 2015)
  • Tony Weir Award, University of St Andrews (2014)
  • Earth Sciences Award, University of St Andrews (2013)
  • Tay Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd Prize, University of St Andrews (2013)
  • Margaret Laing Bell Prize, University of St Andrews (2013)
  • Biology Medal, University of St Andrews (2013)
  • Deans' List, University of St Andrews (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)

Professional Education

  • Master of Science, Stanford University, ESS-MS (2022)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Stanford University, ESS-PHD (2022)
  • BSc (Hons), University of St Andrews, Geology (2016)

Stanford Advisors

Lab Affiliations

2020-21 Courses

All Publications

  • NanoSIMS sample preparation decreases isotope enrichment: magnitude, variability and implications for single-cell rates of microbial activity. Environmental microbiology Meyer, N. R., Fortney, J., Dekas, A. E. 2020


    The activity of individual microorganisms can be measured within environmental samples by detecting uptake of isotope-labeled substrates using nano-scale secondary ion mass spectrometry (nanoSIMS). Recent studies have demonstrated that sample preparation can decrease 13 C and 15 N enrichment in bacterial cells, resulting in underestimates of activity. Here, we explore this effect with a variety of preparation types, microbial lineages, and isotope labels to determine its consistency and therefore potential for correction. Specifically, we investigated the impact of different protocols for fixation, nucleic acid staining, and catalyzed reporter deposition fluorescence in situ hybridization (CARD-FISH) on >14,500 archaeal and bacterial cells (Methanosarcina acetivorans, Sulfolobus acidocaldarius, and Pseudomonas putida) enriched in 13 C, 15 N, 18 O, 2 H, and/or 34 S. We found these methods decrease isotope enrichments by up to 80% - much more than previously reported - and that the effect varies by taxa, growth phase, isotope label, and applied protocol. We make recommendations for how to account for this effect experimentally and analytically. We also re-evaluate published nanoSIMS datasets, and revise estimated microbial turnover times in the marine subsurface and nitrogen fixation rates in pelagic unicellular cyanobacteria. When sample preparation is accounted for, cell-specific rates increase and are more consistent with modeled and bulk rates. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/1462-2920.15264

    View details for PubMedID 33000528

  • Sulphur cycling in a Neoarchaean microbial mat Geobiology Meyer, N. R., Zerkle, A. L., Fike, D. A. 2017; 15 (3): 353–365

    View details for DOI 10.1111/gbi.12227

  • Multiple sulphur isotope studies of pyritized microbially induced sedimentary structures, Neoarchaean Ghaap Group, South Africa Palaeontology Newsletter Meyer, N. R. 2015; 90: 96-99