CME Research Program

Fundamental research done by Center investigators is focused on answering the following questions: (1) What genotypic and phenotypic characteristics influence competitive success in microbial populations and communities? (2) How is genetic diversity generated and maintained within microbial populations? (3) How do microorganisms adapt to adverse environmental conditions? (4) What is the extent of microbial diversity? (5) What is the spatial distribution of microbial genotypes and phenotypes in the environment? (6) How do the dynamics of trophic interactions influence the structure of microbial communities? This research is organized into the following five Thrust Groups:

  • Community Analysis - Studies the ecological patterns of genotypic and phenotypic characters found in microbial communities that reflect the outcome of competitiveness and diversity and ultimately influence the dynamics of microbial processes in the environment.

  • Population Dynamics and Evolution - Conducts studies on genetic mutability and competitiveness to understand better the factors that contribute to evolutionary success in microorganisms.
  • Microbial Adaptation - Seeks to understand the genotypic and phenotypic characteristics that influence the ability of microbial populations to adapt to stress and other changes in the environment.
  • Polyphasic Taxonomy - Addresses the national need for additional and integrated information on microbial biodiversity through the development and use of methods and databases to understand better the extent and utility of microbial biological diversity and seeks to explore, identify, and characterize novel microbial diversity.
  • Bioremediation -- Research in the Bioremediation thrust group is directed toward enhancing the bioremediation of environmental pollutants, developing practical bioremediation processes,and characterizing populations of microorganisms able to degrade environmental contaminants.