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Sessile and endolithic microbial communities in the shallow subsurface

In the terrestrial subsurface, microbial populations can be found in groundwater, but also attached to particles (sessile) or in rock pores (endolithic). The diversity and abundance of these populations is strongly influenced by the depth, the texture of the sediments or the geology of the rocks, or the geochemical parameters which govern these saturated and unsaturated zones.

This project focuses on the microbial communities that live attached to particles or in the pores of rocks, and to the succession of their diversity along a depth gradient. It is carried out on sediments and rocks collected during the drilling of wells carried out at two sites located in the Laurentians.

Project led by Julia Meyer

Collaboration: Prof. Marie Larocque (UQAM )

Microbial populations that live attached to particles or on rock surface are subjected to significant fluctuations in their external environment. The in situ study of the dynamics of these sessile communities (activities, succession of populations, metabolisms) is extremely hard to carry out because of the difficulty in accessing underground samples.

Therefore, in this project, we use a system of bioreactors, which reconstitutes in the lab the flow of groundwater on solid surfaces, while maintaining the physicochemical conditions found in underground habitats. We can therefore analyze the diversity of sessile populations that colonize solid surfaces, and their metabolic functions.


Project led by  Divya Patel

Collaboration:  Prof. Marie Larocque  (UQAM)