K. Eric Wommack


  • Ph.D., Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences. 1998. University of Maryland, College Park, MD. Rita R. Colwell, advisor.
  • M.Sc., Physiology. 1990. University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Scotland, U. K. Ian A. Johnson, advisor.
  • B.S., Biology (Hons.); B.A., Economics. 1987. Emory University, Atlanta, GA. William H. Murdy, advisor.

Faculty Appointments

  • Plant and Soil Sciences, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Delaware Biotechnology Institute.
  • Marine Biology and Biochemistry Program, College of Earth, Ocean, & Environment, University of Delaware.
  • Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences


  • PLSC 802 Professional Development
  • PLSC 467/667 Environmental Virology


  • In the past two decades we have learned that viruses are the most abundant biological entities on Earth. The vast abundance of viruses within natural ecosystems is paralleled by their extraordinary diversity. It is likely that dsDNA viruses also comprise Earth’s largest pool of unknown and novel genetic diversity. Understanding the influence and importance of viral processes within natural ecosystems is the central research focus of my laboratory. The encompassing nature of ecological research means that the work of my laboratory is highly varied and includes field measurements of microbiological processes; quantitative microscopy of viruses within field samples; molecular genetic analysis of viral assemblages; and assessment of viral diversity through high-throughput DNA sequence analysis (viral metagenomics). In particular, the computationally-intensive analyses associated with viral metagenomics also means that the work of the lab is highly interdisciplinary requiring close interaction of computer scientists and environmental microbiologists. My on going viral ecology research programs span the biosphere and include investigations of agricultural soils, coastal marine environments, deep-sea hydrothermal vents, poultry production houses, and the microbial communities associated with the human body. Throughout our studies in these disparate environments my lab seeks to define the abundance, diversity, and activity of indigenous viral assemblages with a particular focus on uncovering those genetic elements essential to key viral functions within a given microbial community.

Professional Activities

Professional Society Memberships

  • American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
  • American Society of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO)
  • International Society for Microbial Ecology (ISME)

Contact Information
K. Eric Wommack

Deputy Dean and Professor of Environmental Microbiology

Plant and Soil Sciences, Office of the Dean
113 Townsend Hall

Newark, DE 19711
Phone: (302) 831-4362
Fax number: (302) 831-3447
Email: wommack@udel.edu