Our team

Principal Investigators

Professor Alexandre Anesio

Aarhus University

Alex's research combines molecular and biogeochemical approaches to determine microbial functionality and activity in the cryosphere. His previous research demonstrated that microbial activity at the surface of glaciers and ice sheets are responsible for significant carbon with implications for biogeochemical cycles at local and global scales. As part of DEEP PURPLE, he is particularly interested in how the different actors in the ice microbial community (viruses, bacteria, fungi and algae) interact with each other and with their physical and chemical environment to build an ice sheet biome.

Email; ama@envs.au.dk

Twitter: @AlexAnesio

Professor Liane G. Benning

GFZ Potsdam

Liane leads the interface-geochemistry group at GFZ Potsdam, which studies molecular level microbe-mineral-fluid interactions. Her team’s work in the Arctic focuses on understanding the kinetics and mechanisms of mineral – organic matter – microbe inter-transformations in inorganic and biological particulates in snow and ice. For DEEP PURPLE, the GFZ team will focus on questions related to how cryogenic algae colonise and bio-mine mineral surface for crucial nutrients. They will quantify the role of algal-driven particulate / mineral-nutrient utilisation in organic carbon cycling and assess the effect of such processes on the melting of the Greenland ice sheet.

Email; benning@gfz-potsdam.de

Twitter: @lianegbenning

Professor Martyn Tranter

Aarhus University

Martyn has a long-standing interest in the rock-water-microbe interactions, a spectrum of which occur within the different microbiological niches on the surface of the ice sheet. He is particularly interested in how the microbes acquire and recycle nutrient from atmospheric and snow/ice sources, which following the presence of liquid water, is likely to be one of the key drivers, of microbial growth and pigmentation. He also has an interest in understanding how the architecture of the rotting surface ice impacts on the mobility and concentration of particulates and glacier algae, which in turn impacts on the albedo of the surface ice.

Email; martyn.tranter@envs.au.dk

Twitter: @MartynTranter1

Post-doctoral researchers

Dr Laura Perini

Aarhus University

Laura was a Marie Curie PhD fellow at the University of Ljubljana, within the MicroArctic project, studying the abundance and diversity of fungal and bacterial communities inhabiting different glacial habitats of the Arctic region. Her research interests focus on extremophile microorganisms, including psychrophilic and psychrotolerant fungi, bacteria, and algae, and understanding their dynamics. Laura's goal in DEEP PURPLE will be to identify which type of interactions exist between microbial communities thriving on the surface ice of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Microcosm experiments will be performed to clarify how algal physiology is affected by bacterial activity and fungal secondary metabolites production. Furthermore, additional experiments will enable to assess the role of zoosporic fungi and viruses as ‘top-down’ controls on the glacier algal community

Dr Chris Trivedi

GFZ Potsdam

Chris’ graduate work focused on extreme microorganisms living on a sulfur-dominated glacier in the Canadian High Arctic. He continues to be interested in extremophile populations, and currently researches microorganisms in the context of glacial melt dynamics and climate change processes. In particular Chris is interested in snow and ice algae and their impact on glacial albedo and carbon transformation processes in Arctic environments. Moreover, his goal within the DEEP PURPLE project is to disentangle the roles that algae and other microorganisms play in these ecosystems. This will be accomplished by using a combined ‘omics’ approach, using targeted amplicon sequencing, metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, and metabolomics to uncover processes sustaining these organisms and allowing them to thrive in these extreme glacial environments.

PhD students

Marie Bolander

Aarhus University

Marie is a PhD student in Alex Anesio's group at Aarhus University. She studied biology-biotechnology at the University of Copenhagen with a main focus and interest in microbiology, especially dealing with microbial interactions. As a part of DEEP PURPLE her PhD project will aspire to understand how glacier algae thrive and survive on the Greenland Ice Sheet. This will be done by studying the glacier algae's enzyme production in relation to nutrient requirements and limitations. Additionally, Marie will investigate the impact of various environmental factors on protein expression.

Eva Doting

Aarhus University

Eva’s PhD project focusses on ‘Microbial Signatures in the Cryosphere’. She uses metabolomics approaches such as Ion Chromatography - High Resolution Mass Spectrometry (HRMS), Liquid Chromatography - HRMS and Gas Chromatography - MS to study samples from different parts of the cryosphere. As part of DEEP PURPLE, she will explore the volatilome of microbial communities living on the Greenland Ice Sheet. Additionally, she is working on the screening of marine sediment cores collected around Greenland in search for a glacier algae biomarker that may be used for paleo-environmental reconstruction of the temporal and spatial distribution of glacier algae.

Twitter: @EvaDoting

Laura Halbach

Aarhus University

Laura is a PhD student in Alex Anesio’s research group at Aarhus University and is excited about microbial processes in the Arctic and their interactions with their icy environment. As part of DEEP PURPLE, she combines field work and laboratory experiments to study the pigmentation and photophysiology of glacier algae and its implications for lowering the albedo of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Laura is also interested in understanding the growth dynamics of glacier algae and will therefore also look into the nutrient and carbon cycling within the microbial community on the ice surface.

Twitter: @LauraHalbach

Adriaan Jaarsma

Aarhus University

Adriaan has a background in molecular biology, studying the smallest building blocks of life. From his studies at the University of Groningen, he is experienced in the production and engineering of antimicrobial peptides. He also worked on biotechnological applications of contact-dependent inhibition at Uppsala University. His project within DEEP PURPLE will cover the survival mechanisms and biotechnological potential of microorganisms living on the Greenland ice sheet. In particular, he is interested in the competitive survival strategies that these microorganisms use in their interactions with each other. By studying these interactions, he will explore the biotechnological potential of (antimicrobial) secondary metabolites and enzymes that may be useful to humans.

Twitter: @AteJaarsma

Rey Mourot

ENS Paris & GFZ Potsdam

Rey starts a PhD with Deep Purple this autumn. They are currently a Masters student at Ecole Normale Supérieure in France, and an intern in Liane G. Benning’s research group at GFZ, Potsdam. They are interested in the survival of micro-organisms in relation to adaptations, interactions between species and co-dependencies linked to global biogeochemical cycles. Rey's main current aim is to evaluate changes in microbial community composition in snow to ice transition zones, with specific focus on (cryo-)electron micro-spectroscopic analyses and stress adaptations during melting.

Twitter: @Rey_Mourot

Elisa Peter

GFZ Potsdam

Elisa joins the DEEP PURPLE team this autumn as a PhD student in Liane Benning's research group. She brings a background in pharmaceutical and food chemistry, focusing on the analysis and production of natural compounds from plants and fungi using liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry and bioprocess engineering. Driven by her curiosity for a largely unexplored ecosystem, Elisa is excited to investigate the adaptation, interaction and dynamics of microbial communities on the Greenland Ice Sheet and their impact on albedo reduction and glacier melting.

Daniel Rissi

GFZ Potsdam

Daniel is a Bioinformatician focused on the study of microbial communities through amplicons, metagenomics, and metatranscriptomics approaches. He has studied microorganisms in Mangrove, Farmland soils, Amazon Forest aerosols, Animal Gastro-Intestinal-Tract, and Bioreactors. His goal in the DEEP PURPLE project is to understand the interaction between microorganisms and the Greenland ecosystems through combined approaches of amplicons and “omics” analysis.

Affiliated researchers

Dr Matthias Winkel

GFZ Potsdam

Matthias is a microbial ecologist focusing on microbial communities and their metabolism in extreme habitats. He has studied microorganism in deep-sea hydrothermal vents, in Arctic permafrost, and is currently interested in carbon networks during glacial melting. He tries to understand the dynamics between albedo-reducing snow and ice algae and their accompanying bacterial, archaeal and fungal communities that lives from the algae exudates. In the context of the DEEP PURPLE project he will help to understand the success of glacier algae on the Greenland Ice Sheet by studying the seasonal dynamics of dissolved organic carbon. He will use high resolution mass spectrometry (FT-ICR-MS) in combination with amplicon sequencing and metagenomics to understand the successful thriving of these microorganisms on the glacial surface.

Twitter: @knutkonopke

Dr Thanassis Zervas

Aarhus University


Project support

Lasse Twiggs Degn

Aarhus University

Sandy Herrmann

GFZ Potsdam

Richard Westaway

University of Bristol