Title: Graduate Student
Area(s): Geochemistry, Biogeochemistry
Research Summary: My research explores the origins and habitability of a deep subsurface hypersaline brine in South Africa. By combining geochemical, isotopic, and “omics” analyses, I investigate how the unique abiotic (prebiotic?) geochemical signatures of the brine may support microbial communities under the thermodynamic constraints of high temperature and hypersalinity. Additionally, I am interested in how the geochemical history and potentially long isolation time of the brine contribute to the formation of an abiotic fringe zone, where abiotic processes may dominate or exert strong influence over microbial biogeochemical cycling strategies.
Key words: microbial community, halophiles, biogeochemical cycling, subsurface life