Wikipedia Encyclopedia

George S. Bullerjahn

George S. Bullerjahn

George S. Bullerjahn is an American microbiologist, a former Distinguished Research Professor at Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, Ohio) in their Department of Biology.[1] He is the founding director of the Great Lakes Center for Fresh Waters and Human Health. His specialty is microbial ecology; his research has focused on the health of the Laurentian Great Lakes, particularly the harmful algal bloom-forming populations in Lake Erie since the early 2000s.

George S. Bullerjahn
Alma materDartmouth College
University of Virginia
Scientific career
FieldsMicrobiology, ecology
InstitutionsBowling Green State University

Education and Training

Bullerjahn grew up in Boston and attended Browne and Nichols School. He received an A.B. in Biology from Dartmouth College in 1977[2] and a Ph. D. in Biology from the University of Virginia in 1984. He was a postdoctoral associate at the University of Missouri (1984 - 1988) with Professor Louis Sherman.[3][4] Subsequently he accepted a faculty position at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, (OH) and spent his entire career there. He is currently a Professor Emeritus in their Biology Department.


Bullerjahn's early work focused on the genetics of Rhizobium spp.[5][6] He published his first studies on thylakoid structure of the model cyanobacteria Aphanocapsa in 1985,[3] and then many papers on the physiology and molecular biology of numerous cyanobacteria including Synechococcus and Prochlorothrix.[7] In 2004, he co-authored what was the be the first of many papers on limnology and the ecology of cyanobacteria in fresh waters.[8] His other research efforts include a focus on the development of cyanobacteria-based biosensors (bioreporters) used in the estimation of the bioavailability of nutrients in environmental samples.[9][10]

Bullerjahn's research interests are currently focused on detection, enumeration and characterization of cyanobacteria in aquatic systems. With a specific focus on potentially toxic cyanobacteria including Microcystis and Planktothrix, his research and that of the center he directs (which includes scientists spread across 6 states as well as in Canada) is focused on the mitigation and prevention of harmful algal blooms in fresh waters[11] with a particular focus on Lake Erie. These efforts include published studies of physical limnology,[12] nutrient dynamics[13][14] and the effects of viruses[15] on these communities.

Bullerjahn has been a member of Great Lakes limnological expeditions including surveys aboard CCGS LIMNOS, the US EPA RV LAKE GUARDIAN and completed a 1,600 km transect from western Lake Superior to Lake Erie aboard RV BLUE HERON.[16] His field work has extended to winter studies of ice-covered lakes including multiple surveys of Lake Erie aboard the light icebreaker CCGS GRIFFON, where a team of Canadian and US scientists identified prolific growth of diatom algae associated with ice cover.[17] He has joined expeditions studying Hungary’s Lake Balaton,[18] Russia’s Lake Onega[19] and reservoirs in the UNESCO Třeboň Basin Biosphere of the Czech Republic[20]

Bullerjahn examining algal samples

Personal life

Bullerjahn’s wife Anne is a faculty member in Biology at Owens Community College.[21]  During high school and while at Dartmouth, Bullerjahn was a varsity rower and a member of the Dartmouth College Lightweight crew.[2] During his career, he has also become involved in social and political actions associated with the health of the Laurentian Great Lakes, serving as an expert for multiple regional news outlets,[22][23][24] organizing symposia and working with colleagues to assist Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) in drafting H.R. 212,[25] The Drinking Water Protection Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2016.


  1. "George Bullerjahn".
  2. Dartmouth College. "Class of 1977" (PDF). Dartmouth College class of 1977. Retrieved March 23, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. Bullerjahn, George S.; Riethman, Harold C.; Sherman, Louis A. (November 1985). "Organization of the thylakoid membrane from the heterotrophic cyanobacterium, Aphanocapsa 6714". Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Bioenergetics. 810 (2): 148–157. doi:10.1016/0005-2728(85)90130-6. PMID 3933560.
  4. Bullerjahn, G S; Sherman, L A (1986). "Identification of a carotenoid-binding protein in the cytoplasmic membrane from the heterotrophic cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. strain PCC6714". Journal of Bacteriology. 167 (1): 396–399. doi:10.1128/JB.167.1.396-399.1986. ISSN 0021-9193. PMC 212892. PMID 3087963.
  5. Bullerjahn, G. S.; Benzinger, R. H. (April 1982). "Genetic transformation of Rhizobium leguminosarum by plasmid DNA". Journal of Bacteriology. 150 (1): 421–424. doi:10.1128/JB.150.1.421-424.1982. ISSN 0021-9193. PMC 220134. PMID 7061403.
  6. Bullerjahn, G.S.; Benzinger, Rolf H. (May 1984). "Introduction of the mercury transposon Tn501 intoRhizobium japonicumstrains 31 and 110". FEMS Microbiology Letters. 22 (3): 183–187. doi:10.1111/j.1574-6968.1984.tb00722.x. ISSN 0378-1097.
  7. Navarro, J. A.; Myshkin, E.; De la Rosa, M.A.; Bullerjahn, G.S.; Hervas, M. (2001-10-05). "The unique proline of the Prochlorothrix hollandica plastocyanin hydrophobic patch impairs electron transfer to photosystem I". J Biol Chem. 276 (40): 37501–5. doi:10.1074/jbc.M105367200. PMID 11457853.
  8. McKay, R. Michael L.; Bullerjahn, George S.; Porta, David; Brown, Erik T.; Sherrell, Robert M.; Smutka, Tanya M.; Sterner, Robert W.; Twiss, Michael R.; Wilhelm, Steven W. (October 2004). "Consideration of the bioavailability of iron in the North American Great Lakes: Development of novel approaches toward understanding iron biogeochemistry". Aquatic Ecosystem Health & Management. 7 (4): 475–490. doi:10.1080/14634980490513364. ISSN 1463-4988. S2CID 16764870.
  9. Porta, David; Bullerjahn, George S.; Durham, Kathryn A.; Wilhelm, Steven W.; Twiss, Michael R.; McKay, R. Michael L. (February 2003). "Physiological Characterization of Asynechococcussp. (Cyanophyceae) Strain PCC 7942 Iron-Dependent Bioreporter for Freshwater Environments1". Journal of Phycology. 39 (1): 64–73. doi:10.1046/j.1529-8817.2003.02068.x. S2CID 13899981.
  10. Mckay, R. M. L.; Porta, David; Bullerjahn, George S.; Al-Rshaidat, Mamoon M. D.; Klimowicz, Jeffrey A.; Sterner, Robert W.; Smutka, Tanya M.; Brown, Erik T.; Sherrell, Robert M. (2005-10-01). "Bioavailable iron in oligotrophic Lake Superior assessed using biological reporters". Journal of Plankton Research. 27 (10): 1033–1044. doi:10.1093/plankt/fbi070. ISSN 1464-3774.
  11. Wilhelm, Steven W.; Bullerjahn, George S.; McKay, R. Michael L. (2020-06-30). Moran, Mary Ann (ed.). "The Complicated and Confusing Ecology of Microcystis Blooms". mBio. 11 (3): e00529–20, /mbio/11/3/mBio.00529–20.atom. doi:10.1128/mBio.00529-20. ISSN 2150-7511. PMC 7327167. PMID 32605981.
  12. Matson, Paul G.; Boyer, Gregory L.; Bridgeman, Thomas B.; Bullerjahn, George S.; Kane, Douglas D.; McKay, Robert M. L.; McKindles, Katelyn M.; Raymond, Heather A.; Snyder, Brenda K.; Stumpf, Richard P.; Davis, Timothy W. (2020-07-24). "Physical drivers facilitating a toxigenic cyanobacterial bloom in a major Great Lakes tributary". Limnology and Oceanography. 65 (12): 2866–2882. Bibcode:2020LimOc..65.2866M. doi:10.1002/lno.11558. ISSN 0024-3590. PMC 7942401. PMID 33707786.
  13. Hampel, Justyna J.; McCarthy, Mark J.; Neudeck, Michelle; Bullerjahn, George S.; McKay, Robert Michael L.; Newell, Silvia E. (January 2019). "Ammonium recycling supports toxic Planktothrix blooms in Sandusky Bay, Lake Erie: Evidence from stable isotope and metatranscriptome data". Harmful Algae. 81: 42–52. doi:10.1016/j.hal.2018.11.011. PMID 30638497. S2CID 58579692.
  14. Salk, Kateri R.; Bullerjahn, George S.; McKay, Robert Michael L.; Chaffin, Justin D.; Ostrom, Nathaniel E. (2018-05-16). "Nitrogen cycling in Sandusky Bay, Lake Erie: oscillations between strong and weak export and implications for harmful algal blooms". Biogeosciences. 15 (9): 2891–2907. Bibcode:2018BGeo...15.2891S. doi:10.5194/bg-15-2891-2018. ISSN 1726-4189.
  15. McKindles, Katelyn M.; Manes, Makayla A.; DeMarco, Jonathan R.; McClure, Andrew; McKay, R. Michael; Davis, Timothy W.; Bullerjahn, George S. (2020-08-28). Schaffner, Donald W. (ed.). "Dissolved Microcystin Release Coincident with Lysis of a Bloom Dominated by Microcystis spp. in Western Lake Erie Attributed to a Novel Cyanophage". Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 86 (22): e01397–20, /aem/86/22/AEM.01397–20.atom. doi:10.1128/AEM.01397-20. ISSN 0099-2240. PMC 7642080. PMID 32859600. S2CID 221365623.
  16. Rozmarynowycz, Mark J.; Beall, Benjamin F. N.; Bullerjahn, George S.; Small, Gaston E.; Sterner, Robert W.; Brovold, Sandra S.; D'souza, Nigel A.; Watson, Susan B.; McKay, Robert Michael L. (2019-04-01). "Transitions in microbial communities along a 1600 km freshwater trophic gradient". Journal of Great Lakes Research. 45 (2): 263–276. doi:10.1016/j.jglr.2019.01.004. ISSN 0380-1330. S2CID 92159518.
  17. 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.; Saxton, M. A. (2012-03-01). "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): 18–30. doi:10.1016/j.jglr.2011.12.008. ISSN 0380-1330.
  18. Bullerjahn, George S.; McKay, Robert Michael L.; Bernát, Gábor; Prášil, Ondřej; Vörös, Lajos; Pálffy, Károly; Tugyi, Nóra; Somogyi, Boglárka (August 2020). "Community dynamics and function of algae and bacteria during winter in central European great lakes". Journal of Great Lakes Research. 46 (4): 732–740. doi:10.1016/j.jglr.2019.07.002.
  19. Rozmarynowycz, Mark (2014-01-01). "Spatio-Temporal Distribution Of Microbial Communities In The Laurentian Great Lakes". Biology Ph.D. Dissertations.
  20. Bullerjahn, George S.; McKay, Robert Michael L.; Bernát, Gábor; Prášil, Ondřej; Vörös, Lajos; Pálffy, Károly; Tugyi, Nóra; Somogyi, Boglárka (2020-08-01). "Community dynamics and function of algae and bacteria during winter in central European great lakes". Journal of Great Lakes Research. 46 (4): 732–740. doi:10.1016/j.jglr.2019.07.002. ISSN 0380-1330.
  21. College, Owens Community. "The Honors Mentors". Honors Program. Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  22. "BGSU faculty track harmful algae across continents". The Blade. Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  23. Cathey, Ben. "Sandusky Bay algae produces toxins". Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  24. The Journal | BGSU Lake Erie Research (2017) | Season 19 | Episode 4, retrieved 2021-03-23
  25. Editor, Marie Thomas-Baird, Sentinel-Tribune Education. "Diving into Lake Erie issues: BGSU professor gives talk on Cyanobacteria". Sentinel-Tribune. Retrieved 2021-03-23. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
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