Dr. Jackie Goordial
Assistant Professor, School of Environmental Sciences
University of Guelph
I am an environmental microbiologist who examines how microbial life persists within extreme subsurface environments such as permafrost (permanently frozen ground) and oceanic crust/marine sediments. Because of the sheer amount of these subsurface environments on Earth, these microorganisms make up the most abundant lifeforms on our planet – yet they remain poorly understood. To carry out my research, I employ a combination of genomic sequencing with culturing, microbial metabolic activity and viability measurements both in the field and in the laboratory. While less than 1% of known microorganisms can be cultivated in the lab and are known to us solely through molecular analyses, this approach results in a more holistic understanding of environmental microbiology than genomic analyses alone. Understanding subsurface life assists in the search for extraterrestrial life in our solar system where the subsurface may be the most habitable of our likely targets.
Start Here for Space: Surviving the Solar System
Originally aired: May 13, 2021