The 1000 Springs Project

GNS Science & the University of Waikato
Funding: MBIE
Contact: Matthew Stott and Craig Cary

Xphiles sampling

Visit: 1000 Springs database website (work in progress)

This research project aims to collate physical, chemical, and microbial biodiversity information from 1,000 geothermal ecosystems from the Taupō Volcanic Zone (TVZ).

Research results will provide a means to assess the conservation, cultural, recreational and resource development value of the microbial component of geothermal ecosystems, and will underpin future microbial ecology research, conservation and biodiscovery.

TVZ hotspots map

Research aims

1. Microbial and physicochemical diversity of geothermal features assessment: The microbial diversity, and associated physicochemical conditions will be determined for 1,000 geothermal features in the TVZ, and the total genetic content of each sampled microbial ecosystem will be extracted;

2. Archiving microbial diversity and genetic potential: DNA from 1,000 geothermal ecosystems will be archived for long-term access at GNS Science and the University of Waikato; and

3. Environmental indicator (‘uniqueness’ metric prediction): The microbial and physicochemical diversity data will be assessed via a set of criteria that ranks ecosystem ‘uniqueness’.

xphiles T49 SEM

Outputs include a publicly-accessible online database of the microbial and geochemical diversity; a genetic archive of the total environmental DNA; and development of a ‘uniqueness’ metric tool for interpreting the data.

The knowledge generated pertains to natural resources that (i) landowners and/or Māori may wish to sustainably develop and/or protect, (ii) companies might wish to utilise (e.g. energy, power, biotechnology, tourism), (iii) central and regional government agencies are charged with managing and conserving (e.g. DOC, EPA, MPI, regional councils), and (iv) the scientific community seeks to understand.

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