DATE: July 2021
Queen Mary University of London | School of Biological and Behavioral Sciences, Microbial Ecology
Stephanie L Tsola, PhD Student
Under two Principal Investigators, our laboratory's research focuses on the biochemistry and microbiology of anoxic sediments and aquatic environments. More specifically, our research is world-leading in the fields of climate-active gases like methane, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and dimethylsulfide, as well as biodegradable microplastics in sediments. Please see some of our most recent publications below.
My PhD research is on the degradation of seldom researched gas dimethylsulfide (DMS) in sediments lacking oxygen (anoxic). In the atmosphere, DMS represents the largest source of sulfur and helps drive the formation of clouds, blocking solar radiation from reaching the Earth's surface. However, when degraded in anoxic sediments, DMS leads to methane and carbon dioxide, powerful greenhouse gases that absorb radiation, trapping it in the atmosphere. Most research on this topic was conducted decades ago, and with an ever-warming climate, understanding the processes behind DMS degradation has never been more important.
We use Hamilton gas-tight syringes extensively to monitor sediment, water, algae, and microplastic incubations for the degradation or production of multiple important climate active gases, using gas chromatography (FID, FPD, ECD; manual and autosampler) and mass spectrometry. Furthermore, Hamilton gas-tight syringes are ideal for transferring the gases and liquids we use as substrates to our incubations and creating all necessary standards and substrate stocks.
The products from this grant which included replacement needles for our old syringes and new gas-tight 10 µL, 25 µL, 50 µL, 500 µL and 5 mL syringes, were sent to us by Essex Scientific Laboratory Supplies (ESSLAB, UK). We have already put them to good use, monitoring anoxic sediment incubations and injecting our samples with the necessary substrates for each incubation.
Most recent publications using Hamilton syringes:
Tsola SL, Zhu Y, Ghurnee O, et al. (2021). Diversity of dimethylsulfide-degrading methanogens and sulfate-reducing bacteria in anoxic sediments along the Medway Estuary, UK. Environ Microbiol. 23:4434-4449. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/1462-2920.15637.
Zhu Y, Purdy KJ, Eyice Ö, et al. (2020). Disproportionate increase in freshwater methane emissions induced by experimental warming. Nat. Clim. Chang. 10, 685–690. doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-020-0824-y
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