Professor Peter Girguis described the unexpectedly complex life forms that thrive in one of the most extreme environments on Earth on SftPublic's Contemporary Science program in July, 2012: The "Shocking" News from Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Vents.
Peter Girguis, PhD is John L. Loeb Associate Professor of Natural Sciences at Harvard University and an Adjunct Research Engineer at the Monterrey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. His research focuses on the ecological physiology of microbes that live in extreme environments, to better understand the role they play in mediating deep ocean carbon and nitrogen cycling. He is particularly interested in the physiological and biochemical adaptations (adaptive traits) to life in anaerobic environments. His research lies at the intersection of biology and geochemistry, and he develops and uses a variety of tools (high-pressure systems to mimic natural environments, in situ mass spectrometers, in situ microbial fuel cells) to address the aforementioned issues.
Professor Girguis received his Ph.D. from the University of California Santa Barbara, where he worked with Dr. James Childress on the physiological and biochemical adaptation of deep sea hydrothermal vent tubeworms and their microbial symbionts to the vent environment. He did postdoctoral research at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute with Dr. Edward Delong on the growth and population dynamics of anaerobic methanotrophs.