Marine microbiology and geochemistry at UNC Chapel Hill


The Teske Lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Marine Sciences, concentrates on using molecular techniques to examine microbial diversity and its relationship to biogeochemistry in the marine environment. 

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Learn about the unfolding Deepwater Horizon Rapid Response Cruise of the Gulf of Mexico Gas hydrate Consortium to the Oil spill site offshore Louisiana, starting Wednesday, May 5. The image shows the edge of the brown oil slick near Ground Zero, with oil recovery vessels in the distance (Photo credit: Vernon Asper/Ray Highsmith). 


Our research interests focus on the microbiology of hydrothermal vents and seeps in the Gulf of California and the Gulf of Mexico, and of deeply buried marine sediments in the Pacific and Atlantic. Collecting the samples and microbial habitat context requires seagoing research and on occasion submersible dives. The photo shows the recovery of submersible Alvin from a dive to the Guaymas basin hydrothermal vents at 2000 m depth.

While most of the work we do is on unseen molecules, once in a while we do see what we are working on. One favorite lab organism is Beggiatoa, a large sulfur-oxidizing bacterium that often grows in colorful orange and white mats on the sediment surface (here a recent picture from Guaymas Basin). The conspicuous Beggiatoa mats are a visible proxy for a complex microbial ecosystem within hydrothermal sediments, where different groups of unseen microorganisms catalyze a complex network of sulfur, carbon, and nitrogen transformations.





















Interested in marine microbiology and geochemistry?

I
nterested graduate students, undergraduate students and postdoctoral researchers should contact Dr. Andreas Teske directly.