• MEarthSci Earth Sciences (Manchester) - 2010

Research project

The Microbial Response To The Soil Chemistry Defined By The Tellus Database, Northern Ireland

Supervised by:

Research interests

Microbial populations are critical within soils, for example in soil fertility and environmental remediation, but knowledge of their roles in geochemical cycling and behaviour is limited. Understanding this geochemical behaviour can aid in identifying bacterial strains for use in various applications such as manufacturing, processing and remediation.

The aim of this interdisciplinary research project is to understand the microbial response to changes in the soil chemistry by utilising the high resolution geochemical mapping data within the Tellus database. I will identify sites which are high and depleted in specific elements, then analyse the physico-chemical conditions and monitor microbial populations present and see how they vary is response to topography and depth within these sites. The techniques used to approach this topic will include XRF, XRD, various organic geochemistry analysis including determination of total carbon, nitrogen and sulphur, as well as DNA profiling and sequencing techniques in combination with multivariate statistical analysis to link biological and chemical signatures.


  • July 2011 - Ashton N., B. E. van Dongen, R. A. D. Pattrick, J. R. Lloyd and A. Tye. Lithological control on soil chemistry in Northern IrelandBritish Organic Geochemistry meeting. University of Swansea.