Welcome to the Newton Lab at UW-Milwaukee

The organisms that we cannot see, the microorganisms, dominate biodiversity on Earth.  Despite the sheer magnitude of these organisms, we know comparatively little about the diversity of microbes in most environments, how those microbes interact with their environment and each other, or how human activities alter microbial assemblages.

In the Newton lab, we study the microbial ecology of aquatic ecosystems. In particular, we focus on how human activities influence the structure and activity of microbial communities. We use a combination of field, laboratory, and computational approaches to explore the distribution and properties of microorganisms across a range of aquatic systems, including: inland lakes, wastewaters, groundwater, and aquaculture systems.  In each of these systems, we investigate both microbial communities and the individuals or populations that make up those communities.  Much of our work relies upon molecular and genomic techniques to gain access to the diversity of organisms present.

Check out the research page to find out more about our work.


Newton, R.J. & J.S. McClary. 2019. The flux and impact of wastewater infrastructure microorganisms on human and ecosystem health. Current Opinion in Biotechnology. 57:145-150. doi: 10.1016.j.copbio.2019.03.015. Link

Bartelme, R.P., M.C. Smith, O.J. Sepulveda-Villet, & R.J. Newton. 2019. Component microenvironments and system biogeography structure microorganism distributions in recirculating aquaculture and aquaponic systems. mSphere 4: e00143-19. doi: 10.1128/mSphere.00143-19. Link

Roguet, A., A.M. Eren, R.J. Newton, & S.L. McLellan. 2018. Fecal source identification using random forest. Microbiome 6:185. doi: 10.1186/s40168-018-0568-3. Link


Paver, S.F., D. Muratore, R.J. Newton, & M.L. Coleman. 2018. Reevaluating the salty divide: Phylogenetic specificity of transitions between marine and freshwater systems. mSystems 3(6): e00232-18. doi:10.1128/mSystems.00232-18.  Link

Rohwer, R.R., J.J. Hamilton, R.J. Newton, & K.D. McMahon. 2018. TaxAss: Leveraging a custom database achieves fine-scale taxonomic resolution. mSphere 3:e00327-18. doi: 10.1128/mSphere.00327-18.  Link


Bartelme, R.P., P. Barbier, R.S. Lipscomb, S.E. LaPatra, R.J. Newton, J.P. Evenhuis, M.J. McBride. 2018. Draft genome sequence of the fish pathogen Flavobacterium columnare strain MS-FC-4. Genome Announcements 6:20 e00429-18. doi: 10.1128/genomeA.00429-18. Link

Bartelme, R.P., B.O. Oyserman, J.E. Blom, O.J. Sepulveda-Villet, R.J Newton. 2018. Stripping away the soil: Plant growth promoting microbiology opportunities in aquaponics. Frontiers in Microbiology 9:8 doi: 10.3389/fmicb/2018.00008. Link

Bartelme, R.P., S.L. McLellan, R.J. Newton. 2017. Freshwater recirculating aquaculture system operations drive biofilter bacterial community shifts around a stable nitrifying consortium of ammonia-oxidizing Archaea and comammox Nitrospira. Frontiers in Microbiology 8:101 doi 10.3389/fmicb.2017.00101. Link

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Albert Einstein