A few days after I had told my supervisor I would start the project, he put a pop-up mosquito net on my desk and told me: “You will need this on your field trip”. Then he reminded me with a smile: “Be careful around the crocodiles."
Yu-Chen investigated microorganisms in coastal soil systems abundant in Australia; aiming to use them to reduce the soil acidity as a remediation strategy.
In my childhood, my parents both had to work during the summer and winter vacations. They would put me in the National Museum of Natural Science on their way to work and pick me up when they finished the work. These experiences inspired me to choose science as my study area.
When I initially joined John Moreau’s Geomicrobiology Lab, I only had a general idea of what I would like to find out about the rules that regulate microorganisms and their environments. Coastal acid sulfate soil systems offer a valuable setting for this research. A few days after I had told my supervisor I would start the project, he put a pop-up mosquito net on my desk and told me: “You will need this on your field trip.” Then he reminded me with a smile: “Be careful around the crocodiles.”
Microorganisms have been proven to change the pH values from a very acidic to a neutral condition within a few years of tidal inundation treatment. However, limited knowledge about microorganisms in coastal acid sulfate soil systems hinders us from evaluating a long-term bioremediation efficacy in tidally inundated coastal acid sulfate soil systems. If we could resolve the relationships between microorganisms and environments in coastal acid sulfate soil systems, a potential land management process would be possible in the future.
Considering the large area that coastal acid sulfate soils occupy in the world (around 12-13 million hectare globally), and the huge economic loss they cause (10 billion legacy in Australia, which occupies 17% of global acid sulfate soils), we believe more research on building a complete biogeochemical model of coastal acid sulfate soil systems will be a worthy investment.
See Yu-Chen’s research poster - which was awarded 3rd place in the 2015 American Geophysical Union (AGU) student virtual poster competition.
This article originally appeared in Meet our Students on the Faculty of Science website.
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