School of Biological Sciences
Environmental Microbiology and Biotechnology
OUR CURRENT RESEARCH
Diversity and function of microbes associated with the GI tract of detrivorous fish
Dr Joy Watts (in collaboration with Dr Hal Schreier, UMBC, USA)
Panaque nigrolineatus is a wood-eating Loricariid catfish native to the Neotropics. Using culture-based and molecular tools we have shown that a diverse community composed of cellulolytic and nitrogen-fixing bacteria are present and that these assemblages are distinct to different regions of the GI tract. The NSF and EU funded studies have provided the foundation for understanding the relationship of the microbial community to their host in this interesting and novel wood-eating fish model.
Freshwater phage-host dynamics and ecology
Dr Siobhan Watkins, Dr Joy Watts and Prof Paul Hayes
The use of freshwater cyanophages for mediation of harmful cyanobacterial blooms in the environment.
This study is part of a larger EU funded initiative (MicroAqua) which aims to characterise the potential for mediation of harmful cyanobacterial blooms with cyanophages. A number of candidate cyanophages have been isolated from sources of freshwater in the UK, a range of techniques are applied to assess their diversity including molecular methods and advanced microscopy. The aim of this project is to identify broad host range cyanophages that have the potential to kill bloom-forming cyanobacteria in their natural habitat.
Microorganisms associated with the Mary Rose
Dr Joanne Preston, Dr Eric May and Dr Joy Watts (in collaboration with Dr Mark Jones and Dr Eleanor Schofield at the Mary Rose Trust).
Characterization of the microbial diversity present on the Mary Rose after conservation treatment with PEG. Identification of key bacterial metabolic pathways that demonstrate a biological pathway of Fe and S oxidation and a range of acid generating metabolisms, with implications for the preservation of other important archaeological wood.
Isometric drawings of the Mary Rose hull and stempost (Right)
A) The intact Mary Rosehull recovered from the seabed in 1982 is drawn in relation to the stempost raised in 2005, which provided crucial information about the shape of the ship's bow. The missing areas and proposed silhouette of the hull are represented by dashed lines. (B) Detailed isometric drawing of the stempost and adjoining apron timber with dimensions and locations of iron bolts, raised from the seabed in 2005 at a latitude and longitude of 49°52.2628′N, 006°26.5928′W. C, location of the stempost sample (MRT04A) used in this study. Drawings courtesy of the Mary Rose Trust.