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Spear, John R.

Dr. John R. Spear

Assistant Professor
Environmental Science and Engineering
Colorado School of Mines
Golden, CO

Research Interests

-Environmental Microbiology
-Molecular Microbial Ecology
-Microbiology of 'Extreme' Environments - Any Environment
-Bioremediation of Metals
-Bio / Renewable Energy

The great majority of life on Earth is microbial in size - things only visible through the microscope. Almost all of these microbes are harmless to humans and are, instead, vital for the provision of ecosystems services to just about every habitat on the planet - including our own selves. Basically, we are interested in the who, what, when, where, why and how questions about microbial life - in essence, microbial ecology. Who are they? - we are interested in the diversity of this microbial life in all three domains of life - Eucarya, Bacteria and Archaea. What do they do? - are they interacting and / or changing their environment. What can they do for us? - for example, can we learn how to optimize a microbial process for bioremediation or for bioenergy. When are the microbiota of a particular environment active? - can we manipulate that for stimulation in an engineered system or process. Where are they? - is a certain microbe only found in one place, or throughout the ecosystem / world. Why? - are they there; why do they do what they do - leads to, How? - do microbiota interact with their world; do microbiota use energy flow in novel ways; do microbiota process metal and /or heavy metals; are these processes beneficial to humanity.