Why Geomicrobiology?

Curriculum Vitae

In the biosphere one thing is clear, microbes rule the world.  The process that creates the oxygen you breath is carried out by microscopic organisms, Bacteria, Archaea and Eukaryaea. The waste you create and many of the chemicals that bleed out of the Earth itself can be substrates which drive biogeochemical processes.  I'm interested in studying how these geomicrobial (earth and microbe) or biogeochemical (life, earth and chemical) processes occur, where they occur, how fast they occur and what are the significant geochemical markers of these processes in the geochemical record.

Figure 1. The Pisces IV, a deep-diving manned submersible operated by the University of Hawaii, is launched in the early morning.  This particular cruise and series of dives was undertaken to explore the iron-rich hydrothermal venting occuring at the Loihi Seamount just south of the Big Island, Hawaii, HI.

As a geomicrobiologist I use molecular, microbiological and isotope geochemistry to examine the microbial driven processes that cycle nitrogen, sulfur and a few other elements of interest in various environments. I have worked in a number of environments ranging from coastal groundwaters and salt marshes to modern marine stromatolytes and gas producing shales but my favorite environment, the enviroment I dreamed about as a kid is deep-sea hydrothermal vent systems. You can learn more about what I do in these systems, how we sample and what we've learned on the research page of this site.