Research activities

Exploring the potential of microorganisms found in extreme environments.


We are tapping into novel microbial diversity by employing new techniques for isolation and by focusing on New Zealand’s physicochemically exotic geothermal environments.

With our collaborative research partners we are using a combination of cultivation-independent and -dependent methods to characterise the microbial strains that grow in extreme habitats, and studying their involvement in biogeochemical processes.

Our isolation efforts focus primarily on microorganisms that are the base of the food web in geothermal and hydrothermal ecosystems: sulphur oxidisers, methanotrophs, hydrogenotrophs, and metal respirers.

We have assembled a culture collection of over 1000 microbial isolates, which will be the cornerstone of our future research and commercial endeavours.

Our research interests include:

  • Extremophile Ecology: microbial diversity studies of terrestrial geothermal environments and submarine habitats. An important project sitting in extremophile ecology is the 1000 Springs Project.
  • Biodiscovery: isolation and identification of novel extremophiles, for a range of biotechnology applications.
  • Genomics: sequencing investigations of selected novel extremophiles
  • Biofuels: isolating, characterising and testing lignocellulolytic thermophiles for the production of bioethanol.
  • Biogeochemistry: bacterial involvement in geological processes.

A bibliographic list of our research publications is available.

Please contact us with any inquiries you may have.