Patterns of bacterial biodiversity in Antarctica - what can we learn from them?
Prof. David Pearce (University of Northumbria)
Since the turn of the previous century when Antarctic explorers began to return samples of bacteria for culture and study, our understanding and appreciation of the microbiology of these unique ecosystems has advanced a great deal, and in particular, through the advent of molecular techniques towards the end of the last century. It would, however, be misleading to think that we have a thorough understanding of these communities, as still some very basic questions remain unanswered - such as how many microbes are present, what is the biodiversity and how does it compare to other ecosystems, what is the function of specific microorganisms and communities and how will that change in the future. This talk will look at some recent studies in this area, investigate how the science is and has developed and then to consider what key questions are being tackled today and what interesting science lies on the immediate horizon.