Tess Brewer


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Molecular cellular and developmental biology

Soil is essential for much of life on earth. Microbes are ubiquitous in this environment – an estimated 108-109 microbial cells occupy one gram of soil with a diversity ranging from a few hundred to thousands of species. Soil microbes participate in carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling, and soil formation - all critical ecosystem processes, yet are poorly understood. Within native soils across the globe, one species of bacteria from the phylum Verrucomicrobia is usually most abundant. This dominance is also observed at two BcCZO sites – Table Mountain (terrace) and Gordon Gulch (meadow). I am studying this Verrucomicrobial species with the hope of understanding what makes it so successful across a wide range of habitats and how the BcCZO and native soils around the world are affected by its presence.