Jarred Swalwell

Research engineer, jarred@u.washington.edu 


I develop new instrumentation to study the complex structure of microbial communities in the oceans. My work spans the fields of optical, mechanical, software and electrical/electronic engineering. Instruments such as the SeaFlow sheathless flow cytometer are designed and built from the ground up in my laboratory and machine shop. There are now three SeaFlow cytometers in regular use: one is aboard the University of Washington’s research ship the Thomas G. Thompson, one on the container ship OOCL Tokyo that regularly crosses the Pacific Ocean between Hong Kong and Long Beach, CA, and the third is continuously monitoring cultured phytoplankton in our laboratory. I am currently working on a new flow cytometer that will stain and analyze the DNA content of individual marine microorganisms while also recording the auto-fluorescence of photo-pigments and approximate size. This new instrument will be used to autonomously characterize both bacteria and phytoplankton communities in the ocean. 


  • 2000 M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Acoustics – University of Texas at Austin
  • 1997 B.S. in Physics – University of Washington

Journal Publications

  • Swalwell, J.E., Ribalet, F., and Armbrust, E.V. 2011. SeaFlow: A novel underway flow-cytometer for continuous observations of phytoplankton in the ocean. Limnology & Oceanography Methods 9: 466-477
  • Tu, J., Swalwell, J.E., Giraud, D., Cui, W., Matula, T.J. (2011). Microbubble sizing and shell characterization using flow cytometry. IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control 58(vol. 5):955-963
  • Ribalet, F., Marchetti, A., Hubbard, K.A., Brown, K., Durkin, C.A., Morales, R., Robert, M., Swalwell, J.E, Tortell, P.D., and Armbrust, E.V. 2010. Unveiling a phytoplankton hotspot at a narrow boundary between coastal and oceanic waters.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 107:16571-16576
  •  Koester, J.A., Swalwell, J.E., von Dassow, P., Armbrust, V.E. 2010. Genome size differentiates co-occurring populations of the planktonic diatom Ditylum brightwellii (Bacillariophyta). BMC Evolutionary Biology. 10:1 doi:10.1186/1471-2148-10-1
  •  Swalwell, J.E., Petersen, T.W., van den Engh, G. 2009. Virtual-core flow cytometry. Cytometry Part A 75A: 960-965.
  • Thomas J. Matula, Vassilious J. Bezzerides, Paul R. Hilmo, Lisa N. Couret, Trevor W. Olson, Lawrence A. Crum, Jarred E. Swalwell, David W. Kuhns, and Ronald A. Roy (2000). The effects of buoyancy on sonoluminescing bubbles. ARLO Volume 1, Issue 1, pp. 13-18 (August 2000); (6 pages)