Hot off the press: In a new study led by Alastair Tait, we have shown that environmental microorgansims from Australia’s arid Nullarbor Plain very commonly colonise stony meteorites that have fallen to Earth. Microbes take advantage of the composition and properties of minerals in meteorites to scavenge water, regulate pH, and derive nutrients and energy. They also leave behind a variety of biomarkers (geochemical records of their presence). Because stony meteorites are amongst the best studied rocks in our solar system, we might be able to use them as a sort of “standard” to detect biomarkers on Mars and beyond.
You can learn more about this work here: 10.1016/j.gca.2017.07.025.
New results from our lab show that the geochemistry and physical properties of a sterile rock control which microorganisms are able to colonise that rock. In a study led by Alastair Tait, we show that the structure of the microbial community in stony meteorites collected from Australia’s Nullarbor Plain is controlled by the substrate and will not reach homeostasis with the community in Nullarbor soils, even after ~35,000 years. This work shows that meteorites, which are sterile when they fall to Earth and other planets, can be used to test ideas relating to first colonisers.
Read more here (it’s open access): 10.3389/fmicb.2017.01227.
Recent results from our group show that portable X-ray diffraction can be used for accurate field-based accounting of carbon sequestration in minerals. This study, led by Connor Turvey, shows that crystallographic carbon accounting results can be comparably accurate using portable and laboratory-based X-ray diffractometers.
Find out more here: 10.2138/am-2017-5953.
Our lab has published new results that show the regrowth of arsenate–sulfate effloresences on the walls of processing plant buildings at an historical arsenic–tin mine in New South Wales. This result is interesting because it shows that simply removing the efflorescences will not remediate the processing site.
You can learn more here: 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2017.01.015.
Check out our recent results on metal mobility during carbon mineralisation! This study was led by Jess Hamilton. It shows that potentially hazardous first row transition metals are immobilised within the crystal structures of carbonate minerals, and adsorbed to Fe-oxyhydroxides, under conditions relevant to carbon mineralisation in ultramafic landscapes and industrial reactors.
You can read more here: 10.1016/j.ijggc.2016.11.006.
Congratulations to Alastair Tait on his new position as the EGEL’s Assistant Lecturer! We are delighted to be able to continue working with you on exciting new science, Al!
Congratulations from everyone at the EGEL to Bree Morgan who recently took up a permanent position as a Lecturer at The University of Sydney. You have all our best wishes for success – we know that you and Prof Bunnington will do great things!
Catch Connor Turvey and Jessica Hamilton at the Denver X-ray Conference in a few weeks. Jessica won an all-expenses paid trip to DXC for having the top poster at this year’s Australian X-ray Analyatical Association Conference. Connor won a DXC Robert L. Snyder Student Award to support his travel to give an invited talk. Nice job everyone!
Congratulations to Dr Alastair Tait, whose Doctor of Philosophy has now been conferred! Brilliant job! Great to have you on board as a newly minted postdoctoral fellow and assistant lecturer!