Geological characterization of subsurface rocks through the identification of microbial communities

MSc research project

A MSc-level research project is available at the Biological Sciences department, University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM), to study the diversity and structure of endolithic microbial communities in the Quebec region. The diversity of microbial populations is closely associated with its immediate environment (e.g. physicochemical properties, pH, temperature, oxygen concentrations, or geochemistry, concentrations of organic or inorganic carbon, nitrogen compounds, etc.). The same goes for the microorganisms that live in the rock pores (endolithic), which depend and are even specific to the minerals present in the rock, but also to the atoms that compose it. The objective of this project is to determine the composition of the microbial communities present in rocks or minerals, in order to be able to use this analysis as a tool for characterizing the rock layers analyzed (lithostratigraphy, atomic composition, age, geological layer, etc.). The identification of microbial communities will be done by genomic methods and multivariate statistical analyses.

The candidate will receive training in microbial ecology, geoscience, genomics, bioinformatics, and experimental research. The candidate will have the opportunity to go to the field, and collect their samples. The candidate will collaborate with Derena Geosciences (consulting firm in the field of energy and natural resources), as well as with the organization MISA (working to stimulate innovation in the mining sector in Quebec) . The successful candidate will benefit from a dynamic work and research environment in the field of microbial ecology at UQAM, and within GEOTOP.

The successful candidate should ideally have a BSc degree in Biology or Environmental Sciences, will be able to demonstrate research potential, and will show a keen interest in microbial ecology and geosciences. Experience in the fields of microbiology, molecular biology, statistical analyses, and/or bioinformatics will be considered an asset. French linguistic skills are not required, but would also be considered an asset.

The starting date is September 2022. The interested applicant should send a cover letter (1 page maximum) describing their academic background and research interests, and a CV to:

Cassandre Lazar, Associate Professor

Department of Biological Sciences, UQAM

lazar.cassandre@uqam.ca