James is Co-PI on a new project awarded funding from Human Frontier Science Program to study the habitability of the atmosphere. The project, titled 'The atmosphere: A living, breathing ecosystem?' seeks to address whether the atmosphere is simply a passive dispersal medium for microorganisms, or if the atmosphere exhibits structure and activity characteristic of a true ecosystem (i.e. containing active resident and transient microorganisms that influence biology, chemistry, and climate globally). The project, involving Co-PIs Jackie Goordial at the University of Guelph (Canada), Chris Greening at Monash University (Australia), and Elizabeth Trembath-Reichert at Arizona State University (USA), integrates ultra-sensitive single-cell activity measurements, genomic approaches, and planetary-scale modelling to test whether the atmosphere is ecologically structured and metabolically active.
We will soon be advertising postdoctoral and graduate student opportunities associated with this grant - watch this space!
James is Co-PI on a new project WAVES, which has been awarded funding from INTERACT under EU Horizon 2020. With collaborators Ian Stevens and Eva Doting at Aarhus University, Denmark, the team will the investigate the sources, viability and abundance of microbes, and concentrations of nutrients and major ions which reside on and supply glacier ice surfaces, with fieldwork in Svalbard planned for summer 2022.
James is Co-PI on a newly funded project, GHOST (Greenland hot spring microbial diversity contribution to biogeochemical cycling), with Donato Giovanelli at the University of Naples Federico II, Italy. We will characterize geothermal springs on Disko Island, West Greenland, to reveal the relationship between the continental subsurface microbial communities and the spring geochemistry and to understand the role played by subsurface microbes in impacting volatile cycling in the left-over basalt of the Icelandic hot spot. The project is funded by INTERACT under EU Horizon 2020.