John Baross

Professor, Oceanography

Origin & Evolution of Life on Earth
Life in Extreme Environments


MSB 260


John Baross is a Professor in Oceanography and the Astrobiology Program at the University of Washington. He specializes in the ecology, physiology, and taxonomy of microorganisms from hydrothermal vent environments, and the use of biochemical and molecular methods to detect, quantify, and classify the same.

John has particular interests in the microbial ecology of extreme environments, the biotechnological applications of microorganisms that grow in extreme environments, astrobiology, and in the significance of submarine hydrothermal vent environments for the origin and evolution of life. The novel environment and microbes present at Lost City are of great interest to John and his laboratory group. Samples recovered from this field offer potential for new discoveries and insights into life in the extreme environments of hydrothermal vents.

Selected Publications

Baross, J. A. (2018). The rocky road to biomolecules. Nature, 42–43.

Stüeken, E. E., Buick, R., Anderson, R. E., Baross, J. A., Planavsky, N. J., & Lyons, T. W. (2017). Environmental niches and metabolic diversity in Neoarchean lakes. Geobiology, 767–783.

Kacar, B., Guy, L., Smith, E., & Baross, J. (2017). Resurrecting ancestral genes in bacteria to interpret ancient biosignatures. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical,    Physical and Engineering Sciences, 20160352.

Rettberg, P., Anesio, A. M., Baker, V. R., Baross, J. A., Cady, S. L., Detsis, E., … Westall, F. (2016). Planetary Protection and Mars Special Regions—A Suggestion for Updating the Definition. Astrobiology, 119–125.

Lin, T. J., Ver Eecke, H. C., Breves, E. A., Dyar, M. D., Jamieson, J. W., Hannington, M. D., … Holden, J. F. (2016). Linkages between mineralogy, fluid chemistry, and microbial communities within hydrothermal chimneys from the Endeavour Segment, Juan de Fuca Ridge. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 300–323.

Glein, C. R., Baross, J. A., & Waite, J. H., Jr. (2015). The pH of Enceladus’ ocean. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 202–219.

Baross, J. A., & Martin, W. F. (2015). The Ribofilm as a Concept for Life’s Origins. Cell, 13–15.

Anderson, R. E., Sogin, M. L., & Baross, J. A. (2014). Biogeography and ecology of the rare and abundant microbial lineages in deep-sea hydrothermal vents. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 1–11.

Anderson, R. E., Sogin, M. L., & Baross, J. A. (2014). Evolutionary Strategies of Viruses, Bacteria and Archaea in Hydrothermal Vent Ecosystems Revealed through Metagenomics. PLoS ONE, e109696.

Stüeken, E. E., Anderson, R. E., Bowman, J. S., Brazelton, W. J., Colangelo-Lillis, J., Goldman, A. D., … Baross, J. A. (2013). Did life originate from a global chemical reactor? Geobiology, 101–126.

Brazelton, W. J., Ludwig, K. A., Sogin, M. L., Andreishcheva, E. N., Kelley, D. S., Shen, C.-C., … Baross, J. A. (2010). Archaea and bacteria with surprising microdiversity show shifts in dominance over 1,000-year time scales in hydrothermal chimneys. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 1612–1617.

Anderson, R. E., Brazelton, W. J., & Baross, J. A. (2011). Using CRISPRs as a metagenomic tool to identify microbial hosts of a diffuse flow hydrothermal vent viral assemblage. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 120–133.

Brazelton, W. J., Mehta, M. P., Kelley, D. S., & Baross, J. A. (2011). Physiological Differentiation within a Single-Species Biofilm Fueled by Serpentinization. MBio.