Title

Halo-Acidophilic Microorganisms in Western Australia

Presenter Information

Emma Young

Department

Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Major

Geological Engineering

Research Advisor

Mormile, Melanie R.

Advisor's Department

Biological Sciences

Funding Source

Biological Sciences Department

Abstract

The terrain and similar unusual mineral assemblages of Western Australia matches the aqueous environments that are likely to have occurred on early Mars. Specifically, acidic and saturated salt conditions were present in each of these environments. By isolating and characterizing microorganisms from evaporite minerals, it is possible to predict the possible lifeforms that could have occurred on Mars. The overall objective of our research has been to isolate microorganisms present in gypsum and halite salts originating from Lake Aerodrome in the Yilgarn Crater, Western Australia. Enrichments cultures, based upon the salt and pH conditions of this lake were developed. The resulting cultures will yield information that can be applied towards the understanding of possible previous life on Mars.

Biography

Emma Young is a Junior who started in Geology and Geochemistry then changed to Geological Engineering in Spring 2017. Her interests lies in planetary geology, relations between minerals and microbial life, and remote sensing.

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

Halo-Acidophilic Microorganisms in Western Australia

Upper Atrium

The terrain and similar unusual mineral assemblages of Western Australia matches the aqueous environments that are likely to have occurred on early Mars. Specifically, acidic and saturated salt conditions were present in each of these environments. By isolating and characterizing microorganisms from evaporite minerals, it is possible to predict the possible lifeforms that could have occurred on Mars. The overall objective of our research has been to isolate microorganisms present in gypsum and halite salts originating from Lake Aerodrome in the Yilgarn Crater, Western Australia. Enrichments cultures, based upon the salt and pH conditions of this lake were developed. The resulting cultures will yield information that can be applied towards the understanding of possible previous life on Mars.