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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.