The Microbial Ecology and Genomics Research Laboratory
We are aligned with the Microbiology and Virology Research Group, based in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland.
Our group combines the disciplines of microbial ecology, genomics and bioinformatics to address fundamental questions about microbial community structure and function in natural and industrial settings.
Ecology and Genomics of Activated Sludge
One of the main goals of this research is to provide new insights into the microbiological processes that influence the performance of activated sludge wastewater treatment systems.
By gaining a better understanding of these processes we are generating a basis for development of leading-edge technologies for wastewater treatment.
At the centre of our research is the bacterium Acidovorax, which is commonly found in activated sludge wastewater treatment systems. Acidovorax has features which are important to activated sludge-based treatment processes and therefore serves as a useful model organism to investigate the regulation of these processes.
We use molecular biology, microbiology and bioinformatics techniques in our research.
These techniques allow us to investigate genetic and metabolic characteristics of Acidovorax strains, and the role of Acidovorax within the activated sludge microbial community. Part of this involves sequencing the genome of Acidovorax.
Most bacteria in aquatic habitats are found in surface-attached biofilms. Bacterial biofilm formation is an important aspect of microbial ecology, and biofilms are of key importance in wastewater treatment systems.