Canadian Associates of BIOS (CABIOS) student Annaliese Meyer, a microbiology student who worked with BIOS chemical oceanographer Damian Grundle, presented at two conferences in 2019 and early this summer moves to Australia for continued research in astrobiology.
Last June, Meyer presented research conducted at BIOS at the Astrobiology Science Conference in Seattle, and in October spoke on her work at the annual International Astronautical Congress in Washington, DC.
During Meyer’s 2018 research with Grundle in Bermuda she studied marine organisms that consume the greenhouse gas methane, and investigated the role that dissolved rare earth elements play in the regulation of methane consumption by marine bacteria. Despite their name, rare earth elements, including cerium, lanthanum, and neodymium, are abundant in Earth’s crust.
For her work with Grundle they joined research cruises in the Sargasso Sea to collect water samples to quantify the distributions of rare earth elements in the water column, as well as measure profiles of dissolved methane and nitrous oxide, both of which also have a role in bacterial methane metabolism.
Meyer was an undergraduate student in microbiology at the University of Victoria in British Columbia when she first connected with Grundle. This June she will start her doctoral work in astrobiology at the University of New South Wales in Australia. For one aspect of her work there she will look for geological signatures of life on Mars, research that often has scientists looking at the evolutionary pathways of organisms living at other extreme environments—deep-sea methane release sites, or seeps, and hydrothermal vent systems. In these places, chemical-rich fluids emerge from the seafloor, often providing energy to sustain life in harsh environments.
“We’re hoping to incorporate some of the work I did at BIOS as a platform to do similar analyses at seeps elsewhere in the ocean,” such as along the mid-ocean ridge in the Pacific, she said.
Since its inception in the 1970s, CABIOS has provided more than 200 Canadian students and young scientists with financial assistance to pursue marine science and oceanographic research internships, as well as support for hundreds of students to complete academic coursework at BIOS. Founded by Earlston Doe, a former BIOS Life Trustee and Canadian oceanographer born in Bermuda, the CABIOS fund honors the memory of his youngest son Learmont “Leary” Doe.
Meyer said that she and Grundle are still finishing papers on their collaborative research for future publication and may continue collaboration as Meyer’s research in Australia develops.