The overall goal of my research is to understand how microbes interact with each other and their surrounding environment. The following are the major categories of my research program at the University of Florida – Space Life Science Lab.

Effects of Microgravity on Animal-Bacterial Symbioses

Microbes play a significant role in the normal development of animal tissues. In this research project we examine the effects of microgravity on the normal developmental interactions between an animal host and a bacterial symbiont. To examine the effects of the space environment on animal-microbe symbioses we use the model system between the squid Euprymna scolopes and the luminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri.

Modern Marine Microbialites

– What are microbialites?

– What organisms make microbialites?

– Why are microbialites important ecosystems to study?

– Little Darby Research Station

Laboratory Cultivated Microbialites

To examine the underlying genetic mechanisms of microbialite biomineralization, laboratory cultivated microbialites are used to model the natural environment. Cultivated microbialites grown under simulated environmental conditions are referred to as artificial microbialites.

Microbes and Environmental Stress

Environmental stress has played an enormous role in the evolution and physiology of organisms over time. Microbial ecosystems in particular have responded to environmental stress by developing complex biofilm community structures and novel gene products.