Title: Graduate Student
Area(s): Geochemistry, Biogeochemistry
Research Summary: My research explores the taxonomic diversity and major biogeochemical cycling pathways present in halophilic microbial communities of the deep terrestrial subsurface. Using a combination of metagenomic and geochemical analyses, I combine information on current community adaptations to extreme abiotic stress with environmental chemical species composition and isotopic abundance data to understand the origins and evolutionary history of subsurface microbial life. Due to the constraints on deep life imposed by high salinity, temperature, and pressure of terrestrial subsurface environments, I can also employ characteristics of current halophilic communities to investigate if and where microbial life may exist in similar extraterrestrial environments, such as in Martian brines.
Key words: microbial community, halophiles, biogeochemical cycling, subsurface life