The Tolar Lab @ UNCW

Tolar Lab

Biology & Marine Biology

I am an aquatic microbiologist interested in figuring out how microorganisms respond to environmental change and whether that determines “who” we find in oceans, estuaries, rivers, and lakes.

Current Research

My work focuses on seasonal dynamics of marine archaea (Thaumarchaeota) in marine and aquatic systems, their role in the nitrogen cycle, and how these same organisms respond to stress in the laboratory. New research projects coming soon at UNCW!

Beyond the Lab

In addition to my research, I am passionate about mentoring students and participating in outreach programs to bring science to people of all ages, and am committed to making science more accessible to the public. I also work toward making STEM more just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive through mentoring and organizing programs among trainees.

Field Research

Research in the Tolar Lab encompasses both laboratory and computer work, but would be incomplete without field-based environmental sampling. Given the broad distribution of Thaumarchaeota in the environment, our field study sites are equally diverse, from the US Atlantic and Pacific coasts to the Southern Ocean.

Monterey Bay, California

Seasonal dynamics of marine Thaumarchaeota

Crested Butte, Colorado

Interactions between microorganisms and geochemistry in a floodplain

Sapelo Island, Georgia

Observing an annual bloom of Thaumarchaeota in a coastal estuary

Gulf of Mexico

Thaumarchaeota Populations in and around the Mississippi River Plume

Southern Ocean

Changes in archaeal populations and nitrification in spring versus summer

Gulf of Alaska

Responses of marine Thaumarchaeota to different substrates and stress

“Even if you never have the chance to see or touch the ocean, the ocean touches you with every breath you take, every drop of water you drink, every bite you consume. Everyone, everywhere is inextricably connected to and utterly dependent upon the existence of the sea.”

-Sylvia Earle, The World Is Blue

Contact Information:

Bradley B. Tolar, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology and Marine Biology
University of North Carolina Wilmington
tolarb -at- uncw -dot- edu