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Joye Research Group

mandy joye

What we do in the Joye Research Group

Biogeochemistry is an interdisciplinary science that examines how biological processes mediate the geological and chemical dynamics of the Earth's hydrosphere and lithosphere. The integrative nature of biogeochemical research requires application of tools from different disciplines, including: microbiology, biochemistry, analytical chemistry, geochemistry, ecology, hydrology, mathematics, physics, and many others.

Molecular Biological studies of microbial communities using DNA, RNA, or protein based approaches reveal information about microbial community structure and potential metabolic activity.

By combining biogeochemistry and molecular biological data sets, we can document the microbial community composition (which microbes are there?) and elucidate their metabolic potential (what processes can they mediate?) as well as their actual activity (what processes are they mediating?).

A fundamental challenge for environmental scientists is to identify and understand the factors that regulate rates of biogeochemical processes. This requires that we understand the factors that regulate microbial community composition and microbial activity, as the latter reflects the active portion of the total microbial community. Evaluating variations in microbial community structure and in rates of biogeochemical processes provides the information needed to begin to identify links between environmental forcing functions, microbial structure, and microbial community function. Such information will permit us to begin to develop mechanistic models of how biogeochemical cycles will respond to global change.

The Joye Group research examines the biogeochemical cycling of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), dissolved gases (dinitrogen, nitrous oxide, oxygen, methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen), trace metals (iron and manganese), carbon, and sulfur in a variety of systems, ranging from saline lakes to temperate and tropical coastal environments to deep ocean sediments and brines to Antarctic lakes and Arctic seas. Several projects include parallel studies of biogeochemical and molecular ecological dynamics with the aim of identifying fundamental feedbacks between environmental variables, microbial community composition, and microbial activity.

Areas of focus include coastal ecology and the study of microbial metabolism in and adaptation to “extreme” environments. Our study areas cover deep sea extreme environments, including hydrothermal vents, colds seeps, and gas hydrates; natural and accidental hydrocarbon discharges; coastal biogeochemistry, including salt marshes, mangroves, and groundwater; climate change in temperate coastal and arctic ecosystems; and surficial extreme environments, including polar and temperate salt lakes. Detailed information on these study areas are provided in the links below.

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