Title

Isolation and Characterization of Novel Halo-Acidophilic Microorganisms Present in Hypersaline Lakes from Western Australia

Presenter Information

Katlyn Lonergan

Department

Biological Sciences

Major

Geology and Geophysics, Biological Sciences (Minor)

Research Advisor

Mormile, Melanie R.

Advisor's Department

Biological Sciences

Funding Source

NASA-EPSCoR

Abstract

The microbial communities in the acidic hypersaline environments in Lake Magic, Lake Gounter, Lake Gneiss, and Lake Aerodrome in Western Australia are currently unknown. These lakes are of interest due to their pH and salt concentrations, recorded to be between 1.4-3.5 pH and 13-32% salt concentration. Halite and gypsum crystals form as evaporates as a crustal layer on the sediment. With these extreme conditions, it is likely that novel species of microorganisms will be isolated. There have been microorganisms found to be acidophilic and halo-tolerant but not halo-acidophilic. Retrieved isolates will be isolated from halite and in some cases gypsum crystals from the various lakes mentioned above and are expected to be in this new category extremophiles. This will lead us to a new understanding of extremophiles while pushing the envelope of where life can thrive.

Biography

Katlyn Lonergan is a senior in Geology and Geophysics pursuing a minor in Biological Sciences. She is taking on her first research project with Dr. Mormile to incorporate biology and geology as one science. Currently she serves as President of AAPG/C.L. Dake Geological Society and a member of Sigma Gamma Epsilon, an honors geological society. After graduation, Katlyn plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Geomicrobiology with a focus on environmental protection.

Research Category

Sciences

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Document Type

Poster

Location

Upper Atrium/Hall

Presentation Date

15 Apr 2015, 9:00 am - 11:45 am

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Apr 15th, 9:00 AM Apr 15th, 11:45 AM

Isolation and Characterization of Novel Halo-Acidophilic Microorganisms Present in Hypersaline Lakes from Western Australia

Upper Atrium/Hall

The microbial communities in the acidic hypersaline environments in Lake Magic, Lake Gounter, Lake Gneiss, and Lake Aerodrome in Western Australia are currently unknown. These lakes are of interest due to their pH and salt concentrations, recorded to be between 1.4-3.5 pH and 13-32% salt concentration. Halite and gypsum crystals form as evaporates as a crustal layer on the sediment. With these extreme conditions, it is likely that novel species of microorganisms will be isolated. There have been microorganisms found to be acidophilic and halo-tolerant but not halo-acidophilic. Retrieved isolates will be isolated from halite and in some cases gypsum crystals from the various lakes mentioned above and are expected to be in this new category extremophiles. This will lead us to a new understanding of extremophiles while pushing the envelope of where life can thrive.