Our current research is directed toward understanding ecological, physiological and evolutionary adaptation of microbial populations, especially those playing fundamental processes in a key step of the global biogeochemical cycling of nitrogen, ammonia oxidation. We are also directing new research studies on microbial communities interacting with ammonia oxidisers or thriving in similar habitats.
This research is performed at the ecological level, through analysis of community activity and stability (resistance/resilience) to environmental perturbations such as temperature change, or deforestation in oil palm plantations, and over the longer-term evolutionary scales, determining mechanisms leading to 2.5 billion years of diversification (e.g. horizontal gene transfer, gene duplication, molecular selection) associated with acidophilic or terrestrial environmental adaptation.
Due to the broad distribution of ammonia oxidisers, our studies focus on environments ranging from boreal acidic soils to temperate plant rhizospheres through marine tropical sponges, each associated with specific adaptation questions.
These studies are performed through a range of lab-based (e.g. stable-isotope-probing, enrichment and cultivation, flow-cytometry, quantitative PCR) or computer-based (e.g. metagenomics assembly, phylogenomics reconstruction, multivariate statistics) approaches.
Avril 2023: Jasmeet defended her PhD with success! Well done (and we'll miss you)!
May 2023: Alaster just started his post-doc with us
June 2023: Angus (Yiyu) is leaving his technician position - good luck for your future career