Mono Lake Microbial Observatory Niskin Mineral deposits CTD


Mono Lake Microbial Observatory

Mono Lake represents an extreme environment that is likely to harbor unique microbes. However, relatively little is known about the types of microorganisms dwelling in Mono Lake, their phylogenetic diversity, taxonomy, ecology or ecophysiology. For example, recent phylogenetic analysis of an important phytoplankter demonstrates it to be a new Class of algae with unusual physiological properties and biochemical composition. While abundant bacterial populations and the existence of pronounced bacterial plates have been noted before in Mono Lake, the temporal and spatial variation in diversity of the bacterial community has only recently begun to be investigated.

CTD cast
Water samples

The primary goal of the Mono Lake Microbial Observatory project is to examine the distributions of Mono Lake microbes and to understand the response of microbial assemblages to the gradients of physical and chemical variables in relation to temporal changes driven by hydrodynamics. This project provides a unique opportunity to identify novel microorganisms and define interactions among microorganisms in complex gradients of physical/chemical conditions usually only encountered at sediment-water interfaces.


photos courtesy of Arya Degenhardt, Mono Lake Committee

Web design by Wade Sheldon, Univ. of Georgia

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grants MCB 99-77886, MCB 99-77892, and MCB 99-77901. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.