Studying microbial life in extreme cryo-environments

MicroLab@Bristol employs a range of laboratory, field and modeling techniques to study how life excels in extreme cryo-environments and its role in globally relevant processes. We also work closer to home on several marine and freshwater topics.

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Some current research projects

iDAPT: examining the role of the cryosphere in driving one of the biggest transitions in Earth’s history – the evolution of land plants.

Supraglacial carbon cycling: using field data to model Greenland Ice Sheet glacier algal blooms and their contribution to global carbon cycling.

Smart Catchment Management: using machine learning to model Cyanobacterial metabolite production blooms in freshwater reservoirs.

Photophysiology: investigating the dynamics and variety of the photosynthetic mechanisms in snow and glacier algae.

MicroLab@Bristol on the road

Take a look at some of our recent field trips

Microlab@Bristol News

May 23: MicroLab@Bristol awarded an Ofwat Water Breakthrough Challenge3 research grant! Our project “AI for Algal Monitoring” will produce the next generation algal community monitoring tools for the UK water industry. Opportunities for x2 PhD studentships and x1 Research Technician to be announced soon!

Apr 23: Muhammad Irfan joins MicroLab@Bristol to begin his 4-month fellowship studying the microbiology and biogeochemistry of glacial flour from Gulkan Glacier, Pakistan.

Mar 23: Chris Williamson, group lead of MicroLab@Bristol, takes part in a Keck Institute of Space Studies workshop on Targetting Microhabitats for Life Detection at Caltech, USA – an amazing experience!

Feb 23: MicroLab@Bristol wins a Summer Undergraduate Internship grant to support an undergraduate student to join our summer 2023 field work campaign in Svalbard, Norway.

Feb 23: MicroLab@Bristol and Prof. Elisabeth Cooper win a Bristol Next Generation Visiting Researcher grant to develop research on Arctic snow-microbial-plant interactions in a changing climate.

Jan 23: Muhammad Irfan wins an International Research Support Initiative from the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan to undertake a PhD fellowship placement with MicroLab@Bristol. Well done Muhammad!

Jan 23: Professor Elisabeth Cooper from the The Arctic University of Norway starts a research sabbatical with MicroLab@Bristol. Welcome Elisabeth!

Dec 22: Rachel Pickford successfully defends her Masters thesis after studying the flow of nutrients and energy through snowpack communities. Papers to follow! Well done Rachel!!

Nov 22: New paper out from MicroLab@Bristol in Trends in Plant Sciences on the origin and early evolution of plants

Sep 22: Paulina Uribe starts her PhD with MicroLab@Bristol, studying the role of cyanobacteria in glacier fore-field colonisation with Patricia Sanchez-Baracaldo as lead supervisor.

Sep 22: Maddy Lewis starts her PhD with MicroLab@Bristol, studying the microhabitat of glacier dwelling microbes in collaboration with Liz Thomas at the British Antarctic Survey BAS and Patricia Sanchez-Baracaldo.

Aug 22: Jaz, Emily, Alex and Chris from MicroLab@Bristol run a great field campaign at Morteratsch glacier, Switzerland, for iDAPT field sampling, taking some first measurements with our photosynthetron.

Jul 22: Chris Williamson, group lead of MicroLab@Bristol, promoted to Senior Lecturer. Many thanks to all the mentors and group members that have helped me through my career so far!

May 22: New paper out by the wonderful Laura Perini with MicroLab contributions studying the interactions of fungi and algae on the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Mar 22: First R&D trip over to Photon Systems Instruments in the Czech Republic to design our iDAPT project “photosynthetron” for novel field measurements of microbial communities in glacial environments

Feb 22: Two new papers out with MicroLab@Bristol contributions – one by Alex Holland on nitrogen speciation during snowpack melt in Greenland, the other by Tris Irvine-Fynn on Greenland bare ice albedo

Dec 21: Jaz Millar accepts 3-year PDRA position with MicroLab@Bristol on the Leverhulme Trust funded iDAPT project.

New Microlab@Bristol paper in Frontiers in Plant Science, shows how the cellular nutrient content of glacier algae deviates from Redfield stoichiometry and is likely an adaptation to surface ice conditions

Another contribution from Microlab@Bristol to a great Nature Comms paper on the storage and export of microbes across the Western Greenland Ice Sheet.

MicroLab@Bristol is recruiting for both a 2.5 month research assistant role on our JGI funded machine learning project, AND a Cabot Masters by Research student on the same topic (same person could bag both!)

Alex Bowles accepts 3-year postdoc position with MicroLab@Bristol on the Leverhulme Funded iDAPT project.

We are recruiting a 3-year genomics/bioinformatics PDRA on our Leverhulme Trust funded iDAPT project. See here for full job details. Deadline is 25th October.

MicroLab@Bristol awarded 4 year Leverhulme Trust research grant for project iDAPT.

Carmen Espinosa Angona accepts 1-year modeling PDRA project in MicroLab@Bristol

Miranda Nicholes successfully defends her PhD thesis to become Dr Nicholes!!!

The Lab behind Microlab@Bristol

Microlab@Bristol laboratory facilities

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