Title

Isolation and Characterization of Halo-Acidophilic Microorganisms from Lake Gneiss, Western Australia

Presenter Information

Ashley Segobiano

Department

Biological Sciences

Major

Biological Sciences

Research Advisor

Mormile, Melanie R.

Advisor's Department

Biological Sciences

Funding Source

Biological Sciences Department

Abstract

Lakes located in the Yilgron Craton, Western Australia may be the best terrestrial analogue to possible previous Martian conditions due to very similar geochemical features. Lake Gneiss is among the most extreme, possessing a pH of 1.4 and saturated salt conditions. The purpose of our study was to develop enrichments, isolate and characterize haloacidophiles, and gain an understanding of the organisms that reside in these harsh environments. Medium simulating lake conditions, microscopic observation, and molecular analyses were employed to achieve these goals. After six months of incubation, the initial enrichments of Lake Gneiss had turbidity and developed a pH of 0.5. DNA extraction was performed on this enrichment and a genomic library was generated. Our results support our hypothesis that bacteria can exist at extremely low pHs and salt saturation and provides hints of the kind of life that could have existed on Mars.

Biography

Ashley Segobiano is a junior undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences. She joined Dr. Mormile’s lab the spring of her freshman year in 2016 and took over the L. Gneiss project. In her free time, she enjoys participating in her sorority, spending time reading about medical school admissions, and planning her future. She dreams of one day becoming a Physician and maybe - just maybe - becoming the first doctor on Mars.

Research Category

Sciences

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Document Type

Poster

Location

Upper Atrium

Presentation Date

17 Apr 2018, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

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Apr 17th, 9:00 AM Apr 17th, 12:00 PM

Isolation and Characterization of Halo-Acidophilic Microorganisms from Lake Gneiss, Western Australia

Upper Atrium

Lakes located in the Yilgron Craton, Western Australia may be the best terrestrial analogue to possible previous Martian conditions due to very similar geochemical features. Lake Gneiss is among the most extreme, possessing a pH of 1.4 and saturated salt conditions. The purpose of our study was to develop enrichments, isolate and characterize haloacidophiles, and gain an understanding of the organisms that reside in these harsh environments. Medium simulating lake conditions, microscopic observation, and molecular analyses were employed to achieve these goals. After six months of incubation, the initial enrichments of Lake Gneiss had turbidity and developed a pH of 0.5. DNA extraction was performed on this enrichment and a genomic library was generated. Our results support our hypothesis that bacteria can exist at extremely low pHs and salt saturation and provides hints of the kind of life that could have existed on Mars.