Summer picnic for the Wilkins and Wrighton labs…now with extra kittens

Yesterday was a chance to get outside and have a summer afternoon picnic. The Wilkins and Wrighton labs banded together at Scioto-Audebon metro park for food, fun, drink….and 3-week old kittens? The grounds keeper at the park had found two kittens abandoned in a cardboard box. He made the (correct) decision that if he brought them over to our group they’d probably find a home…

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Somehow Paula didn’t end up taking this kitten home….

Sampling Ohio groundwater

The geology of Ohio plays a significant role in controlling groundwater quality. In many regions of southern Ohio, glacial outwash (the material that flows out from glaciers during melting) carries a huge amount of sediment material. This debris has buried many valley floors during previous glaciated periods, and is rich in iron minerals. These iron substrates make an ideal electron acceptor for microbial respiration…..long story short, many aquifers in southern Ohio contain elevated concentrations of soluble iron (Fe2+).

In collaboration with the Ohio EPA, we’ve just initiated a sampling effort in some of these aquifers. Yesterday we collected biomass from three wells in Athens county, Licking county, and Greene county on 0.1 and 0.2 micron filters. We’ll be extracting DNA and RNA from these filters to get an idea of microbial community structure and function through metagenomics. Hopefully these studies will shed light on the processes responsible for elevated iron (and other metals) in Ohio aquifers