Montana State University

Research efforts lead by Robin Gerlach, PhD, at Montana State University will characterize the genomic potential, biosynthetic activities under different environmental regimes, spatial organization, and organismal interactions. Part of this work will be conducted in-situ while other parts will be conducted after model methane oxidizing biofilm communities will have been established in the laboratory.

Dr. Gerlach is a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering in the College of Engineering at Montana State University-Bozeman (MSU). Dr. Gerlach is also the director of the Environmental and Biofilm Mass Spectrometry Facility in the College of Engineering.

Robin Gerlach, Ph.D._2

Email:  Robin Gerlach

The University of Oklahoma

A dedicated team of researchers lead by Lee Krumholz, PhD, at The University of Oklahoma (OU) will set up microcosms, enrich the microbial cultures, and identify dominant microorganisms involved in oxidation of typical electron donors including methane OU team will construct and analysis of metagenomic and metatranscriptomic libraries of the microbes isolated from the extreme environments. 

The OU team has the following goals:

Sample collection:

Collect natural samples from Zodletone Spring (ZS), Yellowstone National Park (YNP), Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF), Saddle Mountain Creek (SMC), Honey Creek (HC), Norman Duck Pond (NDP), Norman Landfill Environmental Research Site (NLERS), and the Great Salt Plains Wildlife Refuge (GSPWR).

Molecular Analysis of Natural Methane Oxidizing Communities.

Extract nucleic acids and characterize microbial community composition and function using 16S rRNA gene sequencing, metagenomics, and metatranscriptomics.  Identify functions of Bacteria and Archaea within methane oxidizing communities to determine specific roles in energy conservation, metabolic interactions, and methane oxidation.

Isolation of Novel Methane Oxidizing Bacteria

Enrichment and isolation of methane-oxidizing microorganisms from microcosms set up using samples collected from the ZS, YNP, SURF, SMC, HC, NDP, NLERS, and GSPWR sites, as well as microbial community analysis of the microcosms. This task involves the following goals: (i) establish microcosms from water, soil, and sediment samples collected at the ZS, YNP, SURF, SMC, HC, NDP, NLERS, and GSPWR sites; (ii) enrich for and isolate methane-oxidizing microbes in the microcosms; (iii) extract nucleic acids and characterize the microbial community composition within each microcosm to identify dominant microbes involved in the oxidation of methane.

Lee Krumholz, Ph.D._2

Email:  Lee Krumholz