A Quantitative Approach to Life in Extreme Environments

Condensed Matter lunchtime seminar

A Quantitative Approach to Life in Extreme Environments

  • Event time: 1:00pm until 2:00pm
  • Event date: 19th November 2018
  • Speaker: (School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)
  • Location: Room 2511,

Event details

We have identified extremophile microorganisms in many natural environments that are exposed to more than one extreme condition, but our understanding of how organisms respond to multiple extremes is limited. As the majority of work to date has focussed on investigating singular extreme conditions, we currently have no method of being able to model or quantify biological interactions in multiple extreme environments.

I will present a quantitative method to assess the influence of multiple extreme conditions on microbial growth and discuss how this relates to laboratory experiments that measure growth under multiple extremes. These experiments initially looked at salinity and nutrient limitation to investigate the interaction of extreme conditions using 'Multiplicative' and 'Minimizing' growth kinetic models. I will also detail experiments related to Martian surface conditions, investigating the combined effects of salinity and temperature on growth and plans for future work testing the interaction between pH and temperature, with relation to subsurface conditions of the icy moon Europa.

As well as informing a general understanding of how life adapts to extremes, this work has diverse implications, including an improved understanding of how pathogens adapt to combined extremes within the human body and whether life could adapt to the multiple extremes of extra-terrestrial environments.

About Condensed Matter lunchtime seminars

This is a weekly series of informal talks given primarily by members of the soft condensed matter and statistical mechanics groups, but is also open to members of other groups and external visitors. The aim of the series is to promote discussion and learning of various topics at a level suitable to the broad background of the group. Everyone is welcome to attend..

Find out more about Condensed Matter lunchtime seminars.