James co-authors a new paper in Nature, which looks at the role of iron and manganese in the preservation of organic carbon in marine sediments.
Led by Oliver Moore at Leeds University, we find that the polymerisation of organic carbon in association with Fe & Mn could protect organic carbon over million-year timescales.
Read the open-access paper here:
Moore O, Curti L, Woulds C, Bradley J, Mills B, Homoky W, Xiao K, Babakhani P, Bray A , Fisher Ben, Kazemian M, Kaulich B, Dale A, Peacock C. Long-term organic carbon preservation enhanced by iron and manganese. Nature. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-023-06325-9
Congratulations to Bradley lab undergrad Anastasia Hambi who graduated with a 1st class BSc in Environmental Science from QMUL, and won TWO prizes (best dissertation, excellence in climate and environmental change) for her outstanding research project on Svalbard soils!
L-R: Anastasia, Sonia, Laura, James (and one of the participants of our outreach activity) at the Great Exhibition Road Festival in London.
James and Laura are in Arizona, USA, for the first 'all-hands' kick-off meeting for the HFSP-funded aerobiology project. They are sampling biological aerosols from a site near to Flagstaff, Arizona, together with other members of the 'AIR' (Aerobiology is real?) team: Jackie Goordial, Elisse Magnuson and Jordan Thakar from the University of Guelph, Rachael Lappan from Melbourne University, and Elizabeth Trembath-Reichert, Alexi Besser and Jon Zaloumis from Arizona State University.
We are seeking a 24-month PDRA to work on the HFSP project ‘The atmosphere: a living, breathing ecosystem?’. You will develop theoretical modelling approaches (including bioenergetics calculations, power-based ecosystem modelling) to investigate the potential habitability and ecological structure and function of microbial communities in the atmosphere. Your initial focus will be to model the habitability and ecological processes occurring in Earth's atmosphere, and then to translate the tools and knowledge generated to the atmosphere of other planetary bodies or exoplanets.
Location: London, UK
Fixed term: 24 months (extension subject to available funds)
Closing date: 25 August 2023
Contact: Dr James Bradley (email@example.com)
The lab hosted an outreach event - 'Build a new world!' with the Science Museum as part of the Great Exhibition Road Festival in London. James, Sonia, Laura and Anastasia ran an activity with children and their family members introducing how microbes might survive (and even thrive) on a new planet. Members of the public learnt about exoplanets and matched the characteristics of certain exoplanets with extremophiles that might tolerate certain conditions - such as halophiles on Europa, and psychrophiles on Mars. Throughout the day we spoke with hundreds of children and their family members, who left with a miniature model of their 'new world' and enthusiasm about the possibility of extraterrestrial life!
We are seeking a postdoc to investigate seasonal changes to Arctic soil microbial communities, using data already generated from multiple year-round Arctic field campaigns by the ongoing NERC & NSF-funded SUN SPEARS project.
Fixed term: 16 months (extension subject to start date and available funds)
Closing date: 11 July 2023
Contact: Dr James Bradley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
James and Laura are in Svalbard for fieldwork, in support of James' ongoing SUN SPEARS project (seasonal processes in Arctic soils) Laura's PhD (biological and bioenergetic connectivity between glaciers and the atmosphere). They are joined by Mark Fox-Powell from the OU.
The Bradley lab welcomes two new students:
Laura Molares Moncayo joins us from Paris, where she completed a MSc in Systems Biology, Genomics and Computational Biology at the École Normale Supérieure. She Her PhD will investigate the role of the atmosphere in shaping and sustaining microbial communities on Arctic glaciers.
Jess Caughtry joins us from the European Space Agency and starts a PhD project investigating sulfur-rich icey environments on Earth as an analogue to Europa astrobiology. Her primary supervisor is Louisa Preston at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory.
Glacier and ice sheet host diverse communities of microorganisms who thrive on the ice surface despite numerous stresses including freeze-thaw cycles, high UV irradiance, resource limitation and freezing temperatures. Some microbes become 'dormant' to cope with stress - persisting in a reversible state of low metabolic activity. But despite dormancy being common in nature, its prevalence is largely unknown on glaciers. In 2019 we went to Greenland & Iceland to study melting glacier surfaces, their microbes, and measured dormancy responses. We used BONCAT incubations, amplicon and metatranscriptomic sequencing, and ecological modelling to investigate active and dormant microbes and state-switching responses. We found that glacier surface microbial communities are comprised of both active and inactive organisms, which are capable of state-switching on timescales similar to the freeze–thaw cycles experienced on glacier surfaces. The fast state-switching responses may be particularly important considering future climate change - since short but extreme warming events (e.g. during winter) might trigger reactivation of dormant microbes & alter the structure, functioning and carbon cycling of these systems.
Read the paper here:
Bradley J, Trivedi C, Winkel M, Mourot R, Lutz S, Larose C, Keuschnig C, Doting E, Halbach L, Zervas A, Anesio A, Benning L. (2023) Active and dormant microorganisms on glacier surfaces. Geobiology. doi: 10.1111/gbi.12535