The study of bacterial diversity coupled to metabolic activity of key processes involved in major elemental cycling is a pivotal area in terms of predictive potential under scenarios of global change. The Bacterial Ecology Laboratory, National University of Mexico (UNAM) has focused on microbial mat, biofilm and microbialite-forming communities as model systems to understand both community structure coupled to abiotic characterizations of environments, and functional ecology of elemental cycling.
The evolution of biogeochemical cycles associated to the evolution of biodiversity and metabolism is our main research interest. Different phyla have shaped Earth´s biogeochemistry, including cyanobacteria that have played a pivotal role in the history of life on Earth. Our research group has used molecular clocks to date the time of appearance of major cyanobacterial clades, including the ancestors of the chloroplasts, at late Archaean and mid-Proterozoic.We also study the role of bacteria in the C, N, P cycles to understand patterns in biomass formation/ respiration. Our main study sites include biofilms, microbialite and microbial mat communities, in polar (Antarctica), temperate and tropical environments. More recently, we have analyzed the microbiome of wildlife (birds and bats), in different cave and island ecosystems.