King, Gary M.

Louisiana State University

We are interested in the distribution, diversity and activity of bacteria that either use or impact trace gases in the atmosphere, including methane, hydrogen and carbon monoxide among others. These gases have profound effects on atmospheric chemistry and radiative forcing and act in concert with carbon dioxide to contribute to global climate change. Our work ranges from studies of laboratory cultures to understand controls of metabolism to field studies to understand distribution and activity. We use a wide range of approaches to address basic questions, and have developed a battery of "molecular" tools to complement more traditional cultivation and field assays.

Our work includes an emphasis on volcanic systems, e.g., Kilauea volcano, Hawai'i, which facilitates analysis of broader questions, e.g., what determines the patterns of microbial colonization and succession on recent volcanic deposits during succession does diversity increase through random or order assemblages of phylogenetically distinct organisms; what is more important, diversity at higher phylogenetic orders (e.g., phyla within a domain) or at lower orders (e.g., within a phylum)