Dr. Dan Colman
Assistant Research Professor @
Montana State University
Integrated environmental microbiology at the intersection of geology, geochemistry, genomics, microbial physiology, microbial ecology, and evolution
As an environmental (geo)microbiologist, my research focuses in trying to understand fundamental questions of microbial ecology, microbial evolution, and the sometimes very coordinated evolution of the geo- and bio-spheres over geologic time. At a very broad level, these research questions include: How and why does microbial functional and taxonomic biodiversity arise? How do the interactions between microorganisms and their environments influence the evolution of both microbial lineages and also their environments? What insights can be gleaned from understanding microbial life in extreme environments that can then inform our understanding of the potential for life on other planetary bodies? To address these questions, I use a suite of techniques and insights gleaned from several biological and earth sciences disciplines in order to understand how microorganisms interact with one another and their environments both now and in the geologic past. In general, my research attempts to understand the role of geologic settings in influencing geochemical environments, and investigates the interaction within microbial biospheres and between the geo- and bio-spheres using genomics and other cultivation-independent techniques coupled to in situ experimental approaches.