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Mark Lever

Visiting Researcher

Mark Lever
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I am an ecologist with a strong interest in anaerobic carbon cycling. Currently my research focuses on microbial methanogenesis, acetogenesis, sulfate reduction, fermentation, and chemoautotrophy in subseafloor sediments and basalts. I believe that a thorough understanding of biogeochemical processes in the seafloor requires a well-established link between microbial identity and metabolism. Therefore, I combine molecular biological methods (e.g., 16S rRNA and metabolic functional genes, stable isotope probing) with geochemical methods (quantifications and isotopic determinations of microbial metabolites, thermodynamic modeling) in direct studies of environmental samples and in laboratory experiments.

In addition to my work on anaerobic carbon cycling, I am developing a DNA extraction method for the separate extraction of extracellular and intracellular DNA from subseafloor environments. Using this method, I hope to discern between DNA belonging to cells that are alive and active today, and the (fossil) remains of dead organisms. I plan to use extracellular DNA to study historic changes in microbiota, fauna and flora in response to changing environmental conditions.

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