Title

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

Presenter Information

Ava Hughes

Department

Biological Sciences

Major

Biological Sciences

Research Advisor

Mormile, Melanie R.

Advisor's Department

Biological Sciences

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 with ranges between 1.4-3.5 pH and 13-32% salt concentration. Halite and gypsum evaporites form a crustal layer within the sediment. Previously, microorganisms have been found to be acidophilic and halo-tolerant, but not halo-acidophilic. With this combination of extreme conditions, we expect novel halo-acidophilic microorganisms to be isolated. Matrices characterizing pH and salt concentration limits have been developed to determine the extent and preferential growth and to help with isolating novel bacteria. Growth results from matrices have led us to believe there are different communities in evaporite and sediment samples. Other analysis, scanning electron microscopy, indicates that diatoms are also present in these environments. Our results will lead to an understanding of this new category of extremophiles.

Biography

Ava Hughes is a junior in Biological Sciences and has been performing research in Dr. Mormile’s lab since August 2013. She is involved in Residential Life, being a Resident Assistant, a Senior Resident Assistant, and currently Head Resident. She is also a general member of National Residence Hall Honorary and Phi Sigma, a biological honor society. She just recently presented, along with Katlyn Lonergan at the regional meeting of the American Society of Microbiology where they were awarded first in their session. She plans on going to graduate school and getting a doctorate in environmental sciences and conservation.

Research Category

Sciences

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Document Type

Presentation

Award

Sciences oral presentation, Second place

Location

Ozark Room

Presentation Date

11 Apr 2016, 9:30 am - 10:00 am

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Apr 11th, 9:30 AM Apr 11th, 10:00 AM

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

Ozark Room

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 with ranges between 1.4-3.5 pH and 13-32% salt concentration. Halite and gypsum evaporites form a crustal layer within the sediment. Previously, microorganisms have been found to be acidophilic and halo-tolerant, but not halo-acidophilic. With this combination of extreme conditions, we expect novel halo-acidophilic microorganisms to be isolated. Matrices characterizing pH and salt concentration limits have been developed to determine the extent and preferential growth and to help with isolating novel bacteria. Growth results from matrices have led us to believe there are different communities in evaporite and sediment samples. Other analysis, scanning electron microscopy, indicates that diatoms are also present in these environments. Our results will lead to an understanding of this new category of extremophiles.