Microbial Life > Microbial Observatories > Contaminated Aquifer MO
Author Profile

M.O. Title: Observing Microbial Diversity and Horizontal Gene Transfer In A Shallow Contaminated Aquifer

Location: South Glens Falls, NY


Created by George Rice, Montana State University


Project Summary
Remediated Coal Tar Waste Site in South Glens Falls, NY.
The site occupies approximately 60 acres of gently sloping forested rural land, just west of the Hudson River near South Glens Falls, NY. Since the mid 1980s, this site has played a prominent role in the utility industry because it was selected as a model for examining the environmental behavior of organic substances.

Research Goals:



This project has been designed to advance knowledge about the diversity and activity of microorganisms residing in subsurface water and sediments in a shallow naphthalene-contaminated aquifer in South Glens Falls, NY. This site has been studied hydrologically, chemically, and microbiologically for a decade and features an infrastructure and both hydrogeochemical and microbiological data for developing and testing hypotheses about factors controlling the identity, activity, and genetic exchange processes of resident microorganisms.

The "big goal" is to understand links between ongoing microbiological processes, identifying the active biogeochemical agents and their role in eliminating organic contaminant chemicals from groundwater.


The four main project objectives have been:
  • Assess the diversity of general heterotrophic microorganisms residing in water and sediments.
  • Assess the diversity of microorganisms, metabolic pathways, and dioxygenase genes responsible for metabolizing the naphthalene (the major environmental contaminant on site).
  • Discover new information about horizontal gene transfer causing the subsurface microorganisms to adapt to naphthalene exposure.
  • Assemble a heterotrophic geochemical budget for the site that documents the role of microorganisms in carbon and energy flow through the system.

Project PI's:


Eugene L. Madsen, Ph. D.
Dr. Eugene L. Madsen
Associate Professor, (P.I.)
Department of Microbiology
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-5701
Phone: (607) 255-2417
Fax: (607) 255-3904
E-Mail: elm3@cornell.edu

William C. Ghiorse, Ph. D.
Dr. William C. Ghiorse
Professor, (Co-P.I.)
Department of Microbiology
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-5701
Phone: (607) 255-3086
Fax: (607) 255-3904)
E-Mail: wcg1@cornell.edu



Copyright on all images and material by Eugene L. Madsen, and William C. Ghiorse - 2006.


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