Main research goals
1. Determine changes in
2. Enrich for moderate and
3. Cultivation of novel
organisms from the salt ponds and sediments around the
To better understand
geomicrobiological processes our approach encompasses a
combination of geochemical, geological, microbial and
Hernández-Machado B., and
Casillas, L. (2009). Design and Assessment of an
Introductory Geomicrobiology Course for Non-Geology Majors.
Journal of Geoscience Education. p.p. 23-32.
Finney, M.Ríos-Velázquez, C. et al. (2008). Miniprimer
PCR, a New Lens for Viewing the Microbial World.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology. p.p. 840-849.
et al. (2007). Learning Geomicrobiology as a
Team Using Microbial Mats, a Multidisciplinary Approach.
Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education. p.p. 28-35.
et al. (2007).
sp.nov., a new species from Puerto Rico.
Mycologia, 99(3), pp. 482-487.
et al. (2006).
Characterization of fungi from
hypersaline environments of solar salterns using
morphological and molecular techniques.
Micological Research 110. p. 962-970.
et al. (2005). Community Structure,
Geochemical Characteristics and Mineralogy of a Hypersaline
Microbial Mat, Cabo Rojo, PR. Geomicrobiology Journal,
Salinity in the Cabo
Rojo salt ponds increase as the incoming water moves from
pond to pond with values up to 520 practical salinity units
(PSU). Using needle microelectrodes
we determined the oxygen profiles of pond A (click rectangle
Oxygen penetrated 3 mm
deep into the water column throughout an area of active
precipitation in the salt crust of the bottom. Further
physicochemical analysis of these ponds indicate a large
concentration of commonly limiting nutrients such as
phosphorus and nitrogen. The presence of NO3
could result from nitrification
activity and the low sulfate concentrations in the water
column are possibly due to the precipitation of BaSO4
penetration in the Cabo Rojo salterns was measured by the
use of needle electrodes. Click here
for a schematic cross section of the oxygen electrode used
in our study.
Microorganisms in the
Salterns are Subjected to Extreme Seasonal Changes
variations in precipitation changed the community
composition and microbial activity in a hypersaline,
tropical microbial mat, in Cabo Rojo, PR. Using
a combination of dissection, light,
microscopy, terminal restriction fragment length
polymorphism (T-RFLP), in situ microelectrode studies, and
35S isotope incubations, we documented the major
differences between dry and wet seasons.
What are microbial mats?
Microbial mats are laminated
ecosystems within the soil composed of different microbial
communities. They are typically dominated by
As shown in the picture
above, the microbial mats around the Cabo Rojo salterns
present colored bands (green, pink or cream and black)