Microbes have been present for almost all of Earth's history, and shaped the composition of our earth, water, and air. In fact, we have not yet found an environment that is free of microbes: they live not just in soil and water, but in and on apparently inhospitable environments such as acidic waters, boiling geysers, the human stomach, or deep under the seafloor. As humans build, we create novel environments both indoors and outdoors, which microbes have invaded rapidly. Their presence in building materials, HVAC systems, and plumbing can affect human health, system function, and structural integrity, and has potential uses in a variety of fields.
Julia Maresca Bio:
I use high-throughput sequencing, bacterial genetics, and physiology to examine microbial responses to environmental inputs. Current projects in my lab include analysis of bacterial communities in and on weathering concrete, visualization of rhodopsins in aquatic environments, light-sensing by heterotrophic Actinobacteria, and phosphorus acquisition in in an oligotrophic ferruginous tropical lake.