Ferran Garcia-Pichel and his collaborators study the roles, adaptations, and impacts of microbes in natural environments that range from desert soils to shallow marine waters. The microbes they study play roles ofecologicalimportance, including the formation and destruction of minerals, the prevention of soil erosion, or the biogeochemicalcycling of nutrients.
His current foci on microbial adaptations involve studying mechanisms carbonatedissolution, the production of sunscreen compounds, and the microbial ability to produce hydrogen from water. Current applied aspects of their researchincludedeveloping strategies for the sustainable recovery of degraded arid lands and searching for novel microbial capacities and products that have potential use in biomedicine and technology.
Garcia-Pichel is also interested in improving undergraduate and graduate education. He teaches entry-level microbiology, advanced microbial ecology and geomicrobiology courses.
- Garcia-Pichel, F., Loza, V., Marusenko, Y., Mateo, P., & Potrafka, R. M. (2013). Temperature Drives the Continental-Scale Distribution of Key Microbes in Topsoil Communities. Science, 340(6140), 1574-1577.
- Overmann, J., & Garcia-Pichel, F. (2013). The Phototrophic Way of Life. In The Prokaryotes (pp. 203-257).Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
- Strauss, S. L., Day, T. A., & Garcia-Pichel, F. (2012). Nitrogen cycling in desert biological soil crusts across biogeographic regions in the Southwestern United States.Biogeochemistry, 108(1-3), 171-182.
- Kothari, A., Potrafka, R., & Garcia-Pichel, F. (2012). Diversity in hydrogen evolution from bidirectional hydrogenases in cyanobacteria from terrestrial, freshwater and marine intertidal environments.Journal of Biotechnology.
- Gao, Q., & Garcia-Pichel, F. (2011). Microbial ultraviolet sunscreens.Nature Reviews Microbiology, 9(11), 791-802.
- Garcia-Pichel, F., Ramírez-Reinat, E., &Gao, Q. (2010). Microbial excavation of solid carbonates powered by P-type ATPase-mediated transcellular Ca2+ transport. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(50), 21749-21754.
Ferran Garcia-Picnel collects soil samples as part of a five-year research project aimed at reestablishing soil surfaces.
Biological soil crusts, or communities of microorganisms that grow on the surface of the soil when there is no plant cover, are key in protecting the soil from erosion. Photo by: Estelle Couradeau
Researchers bring soil samples to a "microbial nursery" where scientists work to develop large-scale lab cultivations of microbes that keep the soil together. Photo: Natalie Vaughn
Researchers with the Garcia-Pichel lab collect soil samples. Photo: Ulisses Munes Da Rocha