Biofilms are thin, slimy films of microbes like bacteria and archaea that adhere to fracture surfaces at DeMMO. Living in a biofilm has lots of potential advantages in the deep subsurface, such as making it easier to access nutrients, exchange DNA with other microbes nearby, or getting closer to a tasty mineral in the rock.
We culture microbes collected from DeMMO under controlled laboratory conditions. Through our culture experiments, we are able to characterize metabolic function in DeMMO communities. We are working to isolate important members of the communities so that we can describe their specific roles in detail.
Metagenomes are a collection of all the DNA from an environment. We collect DNA from fracture fluids at DeMMO to characterize the genes in the microbial communities. Characterizing the genes helps us to understand how these organisms are functioning at DeMMO.