Sheryl Murdock, PhD Candidate
University of Victoria
I am a PhD student with Kim Juniper at the University of Victoria. I will be working in conjunction with Rachel Boschen to characterize the functional diversity of tubeworm communities at the Endeavour hydrothermal vent marine protected area (MPA). My focus is on the free-living microbial component of these communities and identifying the functional role they play in the hydrothermal vent ecosystem. I will be using high-throughput DNA sequencing of rRNA marker genes to assess the diversity of bacteria, archaea, and microbial eukaryotes (protists), followed by metagenomic sequencing to gain insights into the functional capacity of the community as a whole. I am interested in the level of functional redundancy within the microbial community that may allow it to maintain ecosystem functioning throughout changing environmental conditions, as well as in identifying genes for key nutrient cycling processes and their distribution across different hydrothermal vent habitats.