Anu Hynninen

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Primary microbial succession on a fresh lava field

Anu Hynninen

University of Helsinki, Finland

I am Anu Hynninen, post-doctoral researcher from University of Helsinki, Finland. I obtained my PhD in microbiology studying heavy metal resistance mechanisms of environmental bacteria. After having finished my thesis I concentrated on geomicrobiology, training myself further in geology and astrobiology. Currently my research focuses on how life emerges on a newly formed lava field. Such fields are sterile immediately after formation but get quickly colonized by microbial life. I am especially interested in the specific metabolic properties of the microbes that colonize extremely harsh rocky environments.

My STSM, “Primary microbial succession on a fresh lava field”, under the COST action Life-ORIGINS in August 2015 was hosted by Dr. Morten S. Riishuus from Nordvulk, University of Iceland. The STSM included two sampling trips to Nornahraun lava field that formed during fissure eruptions from August 2014 to February 2015. The collected samples present primary microbial succession on volcanic rocks at a six month interval. The rock samples are subjected to DNA extraction and sequencing in order to reveal the first colonizers of the rocks and analyse their metabolic properties. Also the influx of microbes was monitored during the sampling. The results indicated that there is a constant input of microbes with rain being a more prominent carrier than wind. The project will continue with annual sampling at the same sites to monitor community assembly as a function of time.






CSO Approval date: 14/11/2013
Starting date: 15/05/2014
Ending date: 14/05/2018

Action Chair:
Dr. Muriel GARGAUD (FR)

Vice chair:
Prof. Wolf GEPPERT (SE)

STSM Manager:
Prof. Nigel MASON (UK)

Web Manager:



Grant Holder Financial Representative:

Mrs Annick Caperan

Science Officer:
Dr. Mafalda QUINTAS

Administrative Officer:
Ms Ange Marie Ina Uwase



A Trans-Domain Action supported by COST.

COST is supported by the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020



Involved countries

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of Member Countries

Participating Countries
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom

COST International Partner Countries
Canada (UQAM), South Africa (Univ. of Johanesburgh), Russian Federation (Institute of Geology, Petrozavodsk), Australia (University of Sydney), United States of America (University of Hawai)

Specific Organisations
European Space Agency (ESA)

Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs)

Aiming at fostering collaboration, sharing new techniques, and infrastructure that may not be available in other participants' institutions or laboratories. STSMs are intended especially for young PhD researchers, but they are open to senior researchers as well. View the documents at this link.

 It should be explicitely noted that Master students are not eligible for STSMs which are for PhD students and more experienced researchers.

The life-Origins COST Project

Life-ORIGINS (TD1308) is a Trans Domain European COST Action dedicated to the scientific investigation of the origins and evolution of life on Earth and habitability of other planets.

The Action has specifically excluded the search for intelligent extraterrestrial life in its portfolio. Creationist theorems are also outside the Action’s remit.

Individuals are not allowed to use the name of the Action, its logo or any corporate identity of COST TD1308 in any communication without prior approval of the Management Committee.

All publications referencing the support of the Action should be sent to the appropriate Working Group chair at the time of submission.