Where are you from, and what is your role in Extreme 2004?
am a second-year
Ph.D. student working for Prof. Hugh Morgan and Dr. Ron Ronimus
at the Thermophile Research Unit situated at the University
of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. I will be using culturing
methods to try to isolate and characterize the pioneer microorganisms
that colonize nascent chimneys.
What questions are you trying to answer and why?
DNA-based studies have shown that very recently discovered types of microorganisms
(nanoarchaea) are involved in the initial colonization of developing hydrothermal
vent chimneys. Nanoarchaea are nano-sized symbionts that grow attached to the
surface of other microbes. I will be applying culture-based techniques to samples
taken from nascent chimneys in an attempt to isolate, identify, and characterize
the microbes that may harbor nanoarchaea, with the ultimate goal of obtaining
a consortium containing nanoarchaea. Cultures containing microorganisms obtained
from young developing chimneys could be studied and may help answer questions
into why and how the chimneys become inhabited by microorganisms.
is your background, and what lured you into marine science/education?
Ph.D. topic in fact involves the investigation into the microbial
ecology of terrestrial hydrothermal environments in New Zealand.
However, the techniques I use can be applied to other environments
such as hydrothermal vents.