Microbiology student to research Antarctic microorganisms

November 27, 2018
Dana Edwards

This December, a University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences graduate student will head far south to the cold of Antarctica.

On Dec. 2, Christina Davis, a microbiology and cell science Ph.D. candidate, will join a team of 37 scientists and staff funded by the National Science Foundation who will explore Mercer Subglacial Lake in Antarctica for the first time. The project, known as Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access (SALSA), aims to discover what lies beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

The SALSA project has implications for understanding past and present life under the ice, the movement of water beneath the ice, and how ice sheet dynamics affect global sea level rise. Davis will conduct research for her dissertation while working with her mentor Brent Christner, a UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences microbiology and cell science associate professor. Christner specializes in the study of microorganisms inhabiting environments on Earth that are typically below the freezing point of water.

“I’m looking forward to this life-changing experience,” Davis said. “I know that I will have access to so many scientists who are experts in their fields, and I’m looking forward to collaborating with them in Antarctica.”

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