‘Cold and dry’ in the Antarctic Dry Valleys | Five decades of research on Antarctic soil microbial ecology Event as iCalendar

18 February 2019

1 - 2pm

Venue: Mac 1 Biology Building

Location: 5 Symonds St

Host: SBS

Contact info: Mike Taylor

Contact email: mw.taylor@auckland.ac.nz

The Antarctic landscape

Speaker: Professor Don A Cowan, Centre for Microbial Ecology and Genomics, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


The past five decades have seen a total paradigm shift in our understanding of the microbiology of Antarctic terrestrial environments, some of the most extreme habitats on Earth. From the culture-dependent studies of Dry Valley microbiology in the early 1970s prior to the US Mars Viking missions, through to the latest landscape-scale studies using advance metagenomics, international researchers have been fascinated by the ‘extreme’ microbial ecology of the eastern Antarctic desert soils.

Over this period and with the dramatic evolution of molecular technologies, Professor Cowan and colleagues have come to understand some of the complexities, both in structure and function, of Antarctic soil microbial communities. These communities are more diverse, more complex, more spatially heterogeneous and more responsive than ever imagined.

In this seminar Professor Cowan will summarise the 50-year evolution of Antarctic soil microbial ecology, highlighting both the revelations and the limitations of research on this harsh but charismatic environment.


For more information contact Mike Taylor.