Dr Karen Tait
My role in EPOCA Arctic
I am part of the benthic team, focusing on how sediment microbes cope under acidified conditions along side Bonnie Laverock. We’ll be making measurements of bacterial production as well as sampling the sediment throughout the duration of the experiment to extract DNA and RNA. From this we can begin to look at changes to the microbial community using finger-printing techniques such as DGGE (Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis) and T-RFLP (Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism). We are specifically focusing on groups of microbes thought to be at risk from ocean acidification such as those involved in the cycling of nitrogen (e.g. nitrification and denitrification). Measurements will also be taken of nutrient levels throughout the experiment by scientists at NIOO to complement this work (studies 1, 2 and 3) .
My thoughts about the trip
Most scientists love the opportunity to immerse themselves in their work and live the life of a ‘science monk’ for a week or two without the distractions of everyday life getting in the way, and I’m no exception. This is my first trip to the Arctic so I’m hoping to see some of the wildlife during those few breaks away from the lab bench.
More about my research
I am a microbial ecologist and have been at PML for 8 years. My interests are wide and varied and include bacterial cell-to-cell communication (yes, bacteria do talk to one another!), algal-bacterial and coral-bacterial interactions, and sediment microbiology: the general theme being microbes attached to surfaces, or as I prefer to call it ‘biofilms’.