First Year PhD student with the PSSRI at the Open Univeristy.
The nature of microbial colonization and its influence on mineral weathering in volcanic environments and impact craters can yield insights into the habitability of other planetary bodies. We will investigate the diversity and nature of microbe-mineral interactions in selected samples from extreme environments. Microorganisms will be cultured and molecular biological methods will be used to investigate the microbial populations. Geomicrobiological methods will be used to investigate the geology of the samples and their relationship to the biota. This work will inform our knowledge of the habitability of specific environments on other planetary bodies, which can itself inform space missions such as sample return. The project will involve training in microbiology, life detection methods and planetary sciences.
Functional Diversity of Microbial communities associated with basaltic weathering.