Nigel D'Souza, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Studies & Sciences, Department of Biology

I was initially trained as a microbiologist and molecular biologist, but a passion for the outdoors led me to seek graduate programs with a strong field component. This led to doctoral research on freshwater microbes associated with seasonal ice cover...

Portrait of Dr. Nigel D'Souza

Contact Information

  • Fall 2022
    Monday:  1:00-2:00 pm
    Wednesday:  1:00-2:00 pm
    Friday:  1:00-2:00 pm
  • (509) 313-5519

Education & Curriculum Vitae

Ph.D. Biology, Bowling Green State University, Ohio, USA
M.Sc. Zoology with a specialization in Molecular Biology, University of Pune, India
B.Sc. Microbiology, University of Pune, India

Curriculum Vitae

Courses Taught

ENVS 110 - Earth Systems
ENVS 200 - Case Studies in Environmental Science

I was initially trained as a microbiologist and molecular biologist, but a passion for the outdoors led me to seek graduate programs with a strong field component. This led to doctoral research on freshwater microbes associated with seasonal ice cover in the Great Lakes. Ever since, I have conducted research in marine, estuarine, and polar ecosystems. I continue to be passionate about research on microorganisms – specifically on how they keep the planet functioning the way we know it, and on how human activity – such as pollution and climate change affect these microbial ecosystems.

In the classroom, I aim to inspire in the minds of my students a sense of curiosity about the environment and our place in it. In addition to providing new information on specific topics, I emphasize critical thinking and problem solving in the topics being taught.   
  • D’Souza N., Laws E., Passow U. Growth and productivity response of a diatom to multiple stressors. (2022, submitted for review)
  • Roohani K, Haubrich BA, Yue K, D’Souza N, Montalbano A, Rynearson T, Menden-Deuer S, Reid CW. 2019. Trophic upgrading and mobilization of wax esters in microzooplankton. PeerJ 7:e7549. (Link)
  • Rozmarynowycz, M.J., Beall, B.F., Bullerjahn, G.S., Small, G.E., Sterner, R.W., Brovold, S.S., D'Souza, N.A., Watson, S.B. and McKay, R.M.L., 2019. Transitions in microbial communities along a 1600 km freshwater trophic gradient. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 45(2), pp.263-276. (Link)
  • D'Souza, N.A., Subramaniam, A., Juhl, A.R., Hafez, M., Chekalyuk, A., Phan, S., Yan, B., r Macdonald, I., Weber, S.C. and Montoya, J.P., 2016. Elevated surface chlorophyll associated with natural oil seeps in the Gulf of Mexico. Nature Geoscience, 9(3), p.215. (Link)
  • Edgar, R.E., Morris, P.F., Rozmarynowycz, M.J., D'Souza, N.A., Moniruzzaman, M., Bourbonniere, R.A., Bullerjahn, G.S., Phuntumart, V., Wilhelm, S.W. and McKay, R.M.L., 2016. Adaptations to photoautotrophy associated with seasonal ice cover in a large lake revealed by metatranscriptome analysis of a winter diatom bloom. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 42(5), pp.1007-1015. (Link)
  • Ziervogel, K., Osburn, C., Brym, A., Battles, J., Joye, S., D'Souza, N., Montoya, J., Passow, U. and Arnosti, C., 2016. Linking Heterotrophic Microbial Activities with Particle Characteristics in Waters of the Mississippi River Delta in the Aftermath of Hurricane Isaac. Frontiers in Marine Science, 3, p.8. (Link)
  • Ziervogel, K., Dike, C., Asper, V., Montoya, J., Battles, J., D'Souza, N., Passow, U., Diercks, A., Esch, M., Joye, S., Dewald, C. and Arnosti, C., 2016. Enhanced particle fluxes and heterotrophic bacterial activities in Gulf of Mexico bottom waters following storm-induced sediment resuspension. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 129, pp.77-88. (Link)
  • Ziervogel, K., D'Souza, N., Sweet, J., Yan, B. and Passow, U., 2014. Natural oil slicks fuel surface water microbial activities in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Front. in microbial., 5, p.188. (Link)
  • D'Souza, N.A., Kawarasaki, Y., Gantz, J.D., Lee Jr, R.E., Beall, B.F.N., Shtarkman, Y.M., Kocer, Z.A., Rogers, S.O., Wildschutte, H., Bullerjahn, G.S. and McKay, R.M.L., 2013. Diatom assemblages promote ice formation in large lakes. The ISME journal, 7(8), p.1632. (Link)
  • Saxton, M.A., D'Souza, N.A., Bourbonniere, R.A., McKay, R.M.L. and Wilhelm, S.W., 2012. Seasonal Si: C ratios in Lake Erie diatoms - evidence of an active winter diatom community. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 38(2), pp.206-211. (Link)
  • Twiss, M.R., McKay, R.M.L., Bourbonniere, R.A., Bullerjahn, G.S., Carrick, H.J., Smith, R.E.H., Winter, J.G., D'Souza, N.A., Furey, P.C., Lashaway, A.R. and Saxton, M.A., 2012. Diatoms abound in ice-covered Lake Erie: An investigation of offshore winter limnology in Lake Erie over the period 2007 to 2010. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 38(1), pp.18-30. (Link)
  • D'Souza, N. A. 2012. Psychrophilic diatoms in ice-covered Lake Erie (Doctoral dissertation, Bowling Green State University).

Research themes: Microbial Ecology, Phytoplankton Ecology, Environmental Toxicology, Marine and Freshwater Ecology, and Climate Change. 

I am an aquatic microbial ecophysiologist. I study microbes in different marine and freshwater environments to figure out who they are, what they do, how they do it, their role in that ecosystem, and how they respond to changes in their environment. Over the last 15 years, I have conducted research on the ecophysiology of ice-associated microbes in the Laurentian Great Lakes and Antarctica, the impact of oil-spills on microbial biogeography and physiology in the Gulf of Mexico, starvation and chemical stress responses of microbial grazers, the impact of multiple stressors (stemming from climate change) on marine phytoplankton, and most recently the response of planktonic microbes to multiple stressors and pollutants like heavy metals and biocides. 
At Gonzaga University, by coupling lab experiments with field observations, I aim to adopt a holistic approach to investigating the response of aquatic microorganisms to the changing environment we are witnessing around the globe. The scope of these questions is intentionally broad so as to accommodate specific interests of students. In other words, if you’re passionate about working with microbes in the environment, or on issues involving the effects of toxic substances on ecosystems, get in touch.