Earths inland waters play crucial roles in mediating biogeochemical processes, and microorganisms are the engines that facilitate that work. Aquatic ecosystems are experiencing unprecedented change (e.g. temperature, ice-cover, run-off), yet microbial responses to such change are not well-understood. The diversity of microbial metabolisms means that understanding microbial interactions with the environment requires approaches that integrate environmental information (physical data, chemical data) with information on microbial diversity and activity. The Vick-Majors lab seeks to understand how physical and chemical changes to the environment impact microbial energetics and microbially-mediated processes in freshwater and cryosphere-related systems.

These goals inform the current research in the Vick-Majors Lab:

1. Quantification of the impacts of ice-cover (duration, extent, thickness, formation characteristics) on biogeochemical processes in lakes.

2. Determination of the energetic consequences of ice-cover formation, changes in ice-cover, and life under ice for microbially-mediated elemental cycles.

3. Understanding linkages between hydrology, microbial communities, and elemental cycling under-ice.

Check out our research on Antarctic subglacial lakes here and past research here.

Helicopter in Antarctica
A National Science Foundation helicopter sits on the sea-ice outside of McMurdo Station, Antarctica with Mount Erebus in the background.