Studying silica cave microbiology

Dr. Hazel Barton and Adrian Tween

The Barton lab studies cave microbiology: we study the processes and involvement of microbes in cave formation. This specific project is about Roraima, which is a table-top mountain in Venezuela that has one of the largest-quartzite caves in the world. Silica is unique in that it is a very stable mineral, and yet silica has been extensively dissolved to form caves that are kilometers deep in this site. In this project, you will learn about and help reveal the process of dissolving and precipitating the silica to recreate the process in the caves using hands-on applied microbiology. Using bacteria collected at this site, we will get closer to creating and designing a smaller carbon footprint material.

In this program you will be taught the basics of microbiology as well as get involved in applied research. This experience will give you skills helpful for any life science ranging from: making cultures, performing analytical chemistry tests and studying real-world processes.

Click here for more information about Dr. Barton’s lab