Research About thermal springs

Posted On: Filed Under: Biological Research

Microbiology of thermal vents

Our objectives are to observe, enrich, isolate, and identify bacteria from hot springs in the Mount St. Helens area. If any previously undescribed isolates are found, we will characterize them. In two trips to the area so far, we have observed the following: Cyanobacterial (blue-green algal) mats containing filamentous forms, some with heterocysts; filaments with the appearance of the sulfur oxidizer Beggiatoa or Thiothrix; and numerous rod shaped and coccus shaped bacteria. From anoxic sediment at 60oC, we obtained an enrichment of methanogenic bacteria that appeared similar to Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum. We also obtained an enrichment of the green non-sulfur photosynthetic bacterium, Chloroflexus. We observed few organisms in a vent at 85oC.

 

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Posted On: Filed Under: Biological Research

Lakes and thermal environments in the blast zone of Mount St. Helens

Approximately 20 lakes exist in the blast zone of Mount St. Helens. The degree to which they were disturbed on May 18, 1980 ranges from slight to a complete physical, chemical, and biological restructuring. Initially, our research focused on the physical, chemical, and microbial conditions within the lakes. Heavily devastated lakes were markedly changed chemically and all plants and animals eliminated. Recovery took the form of dramatic physical and chemical changes within the lakes which were linked to microbial activity. Rapid recovery occurred the first two years. Once the physical and chemical conditions were ameliorated, further biological succession was possible. Presently, we continue to track these changes.

 

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