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Biological Sciences

Staff information

Jim Moran

Chemical and Biological Signature Science Group
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
MSIN: P7-50
Richland, WA 99354


Since arriving at PNNL Dr. Moran has been studying microbial interactions in phototrophic and non-phototrophic microbial mats in hypersaline, hyperthermophilic, and acid systems. Specific questions being addressed in these studies include: the balance of autotrophically derived versus exogenously supplied carbon to total biomass in hyperthermophilic mat systems, tracking carbon from multiple substrates through different members of hypersaline communities, and identifying specific regions within a hypersaline microbial mat associated with highest assimilation rates of various substrates. These studies have utilized a series of light stable isotope (primarily H, C, O, and N) methods both with and without labeled substrate additions. In addition to these efforts, Dr. Moran has also used a suite of stable isotope approaches to support understanding of nutrient stresses on the survival of wild herring populations, a number of chemical and biological fingerprinting efforts, and in instrument development activities. Specific instrument development efforts have led to design and construction of the laser ablation isotope ratio mass spectrometry system capable of making spatially prescribed stable isotope measurements over solid surfaces. Dr. Moran is also leading current efforts to develop extremely high sensitivity isotope measurements using capillary absorption spectroscopy having order of magnitude decreases in sample size requirements over traditional mass spectrometry approaches.

Research Interests

  • Microbial interactions
  • Microbial ecology
  • Stable isotope geochemistry/li>
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Compound specific isotope analysis

Education and Credentials

  • Post-doctoral: McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, 2007-2008
  • Ph.D.: The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA, Geosciences, 2007
  • B.A.: Lawrence University, Appleton, WI, Chemistry and Geology; Biology minor, 2000

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • American Chemical Society
  • American Geophysical Union
  • American Society for Microbiology
  • Geochemical Society

PNNL Publications


  • Aalseth CE, AR Day, EW Hoppe, EK Mace, JJ Moran, CT Overman, ME Panisko, A Seifert, and R Bonicalzi.  2016. "Optimization of Simultaneous Tritium-Radiocarbon Internal Gas Proportional Counting." Nuclear Instruments and Methods A813, 19-28.  doi:10.1016/j.nima.2015.12.062
  • Yang H, H Gandhi, AJ Cornish, JJ Moran, HW Kreuzer, N Ostrom, and EL Hegg.  2016. "Isotopic fractionation associated with [NiFe]- and [FeFe]-hydrogenases." Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 30(2):285-292.  doi:10.1002/rcm.7432


  • Mirjankar NS, CG Fraga, AJ Carman, and JJ Moran. 2016. "Source Attribution of Cyanides using Anionic Impurity Profiling, Stable Isotope Ratios, Trace Elemental Analysis and Chemometrics." Analytical Chemistry DOI 10.1021/acs.analchem.5b04126


  • Moran JJ, CG Doll, HC Bernstein, RS Renslow, AB Cory, JR Hutchison, SR Lindemann, and JK Fredrickson. 2014. "Spatially tracking 13C labeled substrate (bicarbonate) accumulation in microbial communities using laser ablation isotope ratio mass spectrometry." Environmental Microbiology Reports 6(6):786-791.  doi:10.1111/1758-2229.12211
  • Jennings R, LM Whitmore, JJ Moran, HW Kreuzer, and WP Inskeep 2014. "Carbon dioxide fixation by Metallosphaera yellowstonensis and acidothermophilic iron-oxidizing microbial communities from Yellowstone National Park." Applied and Environmental Microbiology 80 (9):2665-2671.  doi:10.1128/AEM.03416-13
  • Kreuzer HW, EA Hill, JJ Moran, RA Bartholomew, Y Hui, and EL Hegg 2014. "Contributions of the [NiFe]- and [FeFe]-hydrogenase to H2 production in Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 as revealed by isotope ratio analysis of evolved H2." FEMS Microbiology Letters 352(1):18-24. doi:10.1111/1574-6968.12361


  • Lindemann SR, JJ Moran, JC Stegen, RS Renslow, JR Hutchison, JK Cole, A Dohnalkova, J Tremblay, K Singh, S Malfatti, F Chen, S Tringe, H Beyenal, and JK Fredrickson. 2013. "The Epsomitic Phototrophic Microbial Mat of Hot Lake, Washington: Community Structural Responses to Seasonal Cycling" Frontiers in Microbiology 4:323. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2013.00323
  • Moran JJ, CJ Ehrhardt, JH Wahl, HW Kreuzer, and KL Wahl. 2013. "Integration of stable isotope and trace contaminant concentration for enhanced forensic acetone discrimination." Talanta 116:866-869. doi:10.1016/j.talanta.2013.07.015


  • Harvey SD, KH Jarman, JJ Moran, CM Sorensen, and BW Wright. 2011. "Characterization of Diesel Fuel by Chemical Separation Combined with Capillary Gas Chromatography (GC) Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS)." Talanta 99:262-269. doi:10.1016/j.talanta.2012.05.049
  • Kelly JF, RL Sams, TA Blake, MK Newburn, JJ Moran, ML Alexander, and HW Kreuzer. 2012. "A Capillary Absorption Spectrometer for Stable Carbon Isotope Ratio (13C/12C) Analysis in Very Small Samples." Review of Scientific Instruments 83(2):Article No. 023101. doi:10.1063/1.3680593
  • Moran JJ, HW Kreuzer, AJ Carman, JH Wahl, and DC Duckworth. 2012. "Multiple stable isotope characterization as a forensic tool to distinguish acid scavenger samples." Journal of Forensic Sciences 57(1):60-63. doi:10.1111/j.1556-4029.2011.01959.x
  • Bonicalzi R, CE Aalseth, AR Day, EW Hoppe, EK Mace, JJ Moran, CT Overman, ME Panisko, and A Seifert. 2016. "Optimization of Simultaneous Tritium-Radiocarbon Internal Gas Proportional Counting." Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research. Section A, Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment 813:19-28. doi:10.1016/j.nima.2015.12.062
  • Kreuzer HW, J Horita, JJ Moran, B Tomkins, DB Janszen, and AJ Carman. 2012. "Stable Carbon and Nitrogen Isotope Ratios of Sodium and Potassium Cyanide as a Forensic Signature." Journal of Forensic Sciences 57(1):75-79. doi:10.1111/j.1556-4029.2011.01946.x


  • Moran JJ, MK Newburn, ML Alexander, RL Sams, JF Kelly, and HW Kreuzer. 2011. "Laser ablation isotope ratio mass spectrometry for enhanced sensitivity and spatial resolution in stable isotope analysis." Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 25(9):1282-1290. doi:10.1002/rcm.4985
  • Colburn, H.A., D.S. Wunschel, HW Kreuzer-Martin, JJ Moran, KC Antolick, and AM Melville (2010) Analysis of carbohydrate and fatty acid marker abundance in ricin toxin preparations for forensic information. Analytical Chemistry, 82, 6040-6047.

Biological Sciences