Thesis title: Molecular and Microbial Diversity of Cyanobacteria from Australian Biological Soil Crusts
Supervisor: Brett Neilan
Co-Supervisor: John Kalaitzis
In her PhD, Angela Chilton is seeking to characterise cyanobacteria of biological soil crusts. Cyanobacteria are able to colonise the low-nutrient, water scarce, UV intense top-soil environments of arid and semi-arid regions around the world. Here, they modify the edaphic properties to allow for succession and the formation of microbial and avascular-plant crust. She is undertaking a polyphasic approach through both culturing and high through-put sequencing techniques. Specifically, she is identifying pioneer and key community-driving species. In addition to this, the molecular adaptive strategies of cyanobacteria and their associated biological soil crust communities will be assessed through profiling and characterisation of secondary metabolites. Her project has taken her to several extreme environments where these communities perform critical ecological roles.
Chilton, AM and Neilan, BA (2013) Cyanobacteria of arid land soil crusts: A hard life. Australian Astrobiology Meeting, Sydney, Australia. July 2013, oral presentation.
Chilton, AM, Woodhouse, JN and Neilan, BA (2014) Prevalence of secondary metabolite genes from Australian cyanobacterial soil crusts. 9th European Workshop on the Molecular Biology of Cyanobacteria, Texel, Netherlands. September 2014, poster presentation.