Antarctic cyanobacterial mat

Cyanobacteria are crazily robust organisms. They can thrive pretty much anywhere damp: The surface of desert rocks, oceans, in soil, lakes, the trunks of trees and even your house. Seriously, there’ll be a few squillion of them living in the biofilm that flourishes in the damp corners of the external surfaces of your house. 

I’ve been lucky enough to get to work with some of the samples of cyanobacterial mat from Antarctica that were brought back from a recent research expedition there that AUT School of Applied Sciences were involved in.

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The idea is to establish what photosynthetic pigments they contain as a way of identifying them and of ground-truthing the hyperspectral data collected by the UAV Len was flying down there. So I’ve spent much of today grinding, weighing and pouring alternately liquid nitrogen and acetone. Scientific fun!

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The extracts are in the fridge, in the dark, awaiting spectrophotometric, fluorometric and LC-DAD-FLD-MS analyses tomorrow.