Microbial Ecology of Early Earth and Modern Artificial Environments

Grant #: NNX10AH18A
Senior Scientist: efleming

Microbes and microbial communities have become model systems in Astrobiology as we try to understand early life on Earth and make assumptions about possible life on other planets or moons. If we are to understand complex microbial communities we need to understand not only the microbes themselves but their community dynamics as well. I primarily focus on oxygenic phototrophs (i.e. cyanobacteria and microalgae), their ecology, physiology, and evolution in both natural microbial assemblages (i.e. microbial mats, periphyton, phytoplankton) and as clonal cultures.  My research can be divided into three major sections (Astrobiology, Space/Satellite Missions and Green Technology/Algal Biofuels), each of which are described below.