A week overdue, but better late than never. Last week, Carla and Cara were out in southeast Idaho for a few days collecting soil samples for research related to selenium biogeochemistry. Although it doesn’t look like it, these areas are reclaimed phosphate mine sites with Se-rich soils. We are looking at the microbial communities contributing to the fate and distribution of Se in these soils.
In the Santelli Geomicrobiology lab, our research examines the interactions between minerals and microorganisms, including fungi, to understand how biomineralization, biocorrosion, and metabolic activity influence the fate and distribution of metals, nutrients, and pollutants in the environment. Our specific research objectives are driven by conducting fundamental scientific research on environmentally relevant biogeochemical processes and key elements in nature that are further influenced by anthropogenic activities, such as mining and agriculture. In addition to answering key questions on the mechanisms, metabolic pathways, and geochemical impact of mineral-microbe interactions, we seek to inform and improve strategies for remediating inorganic pollutants to improve the quality and health of water and soil environments.