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Prof David Pearce

Professor of Environmental Microbiology

Department: Applied Sciences

The underlying theme of my research is to use microbiology (and in particular novel molecular techniques applied to microbial ecology, microbial biodiversity and activity, environmental genomics, biogeochemical cycling and model extremophiles) to understand Polar ecosystem function and the potential for shifts in biogeochemical activity that may result from environmental change. I have taken the lead in the development of new frontiers of research in metagenomics, chemosynthetic communities, sediment sequestration of carbon and subglacial lake environments and have initiated new interdisciplinary approaches on the aerial environment (with chemists), ice nucleation activity (with physicists) and in the biogeochemistry of ice (with glaciologists).

Further Information


Natural Sciences BA(Hons), European Studies MA, Microbiology PhD

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

Microbial biodiversity, Environmental microbiology, Microbial ecology, Molecular ecology, Microbial physiology, Environmental genomics, Extremophiles, Life in extreme environments, Exploring and applying new technology and the potential of unknown ecosystems.

Current/Recent Projects

Surface water productivity, variability in export flux and deep-sea diversity how are they linked? NERC Consortium (2006)

Chemosynthetically driven ecosystems South of the Polar Front: biogeography and ecology.
NERC Consortium (2007)

Direct measurement and sampling of subglacial Lake Ellsworth: a multidisciplinary investigation of life in extreme environments & ice sheet history. NERC Consortium (2008)

Productivity and biogeochemistry of terrestrial, ice-bound ecosystems in the maritime Antarctic.
NERC AFI (2011)

New products from secondary metabolites of Antarctic microbes. NERC Innovation A (2013)

New products from secondary metabolites of Antarctic microbes Warwick Ventures (2013)

Microbial biogeography of South Georgia's soils: implications for fertilization of coastal waters.
SGSSI Standard (2012)

Chemosynthetically-driven Ecosystems South of the Polar Front: Biogeography and Ecology - extension NERC Consortium (2012)

Climate Change and the Microbial Diversity in Antarctic BELSPO Collaborative (2012)

Rachel Malinowska, Andy Hodson (x2), James Chong, Julia Kleinteich , Mike Allen NERC CGS

Ice streams as exporters of dissolved nutrients to the Southern Ocean NERC Standard (2013)

Mars Analogue Sites on Earth EU FP7 (2013)

Key Publications

Pearce, D.A, Newsham, K.K., Thorne, M.A.S., Calvo-Bado, L., Krsek, M., Laskaris, P., Hodson, A. and Wellington, E.M.H. (2012). Metagenomic analysis of a southern maritime Antarctic soil. Frontiers in Microbiology. 3: 403. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2012.00403

Jamieson, R.E., Heywood, J.L., Rogers, A.D., Billett, D.S.M., Pearce, D.A. (2013). Bacterial biodiversity in deep-sea sediments from two regions of contrasting surface water productivity near the Crozet Islands, Southern Ocean. Deep Sea Research Part I Oceanographic Research Papers. 75: 67-77. doi: 10.1016/j.dsr.2012.12.012.

Kaiser S, Brandão SN, Brix S, Barnes DKA, Bowden DA, Brenke N, Ingels J, Leese F, Linse K, Schiaparelli S, Arango CP, Badhe R, Bax N, Blazewicz-Paszkowycz M, Brandt A, Catarino AI, David B, De Ridder C, Dubois P, Ellingsen KE, Glover AG, Griffiths HJ, Gutt J, Halanych KM, Havermans C, Held C, Janussen D, Lörz A, Pearce DA, Pierrat B, Riehl T, Rose A, Sands CJ, Soler A, Membrives I, Schüller M, Strugnell JM, Vanreusel A, Veit-Köhler G, Wilson NG and Yasuhara M. (2013) Pattern, process and vulnerability of Antarctic and Southern Ocean benthos - a decadal leap in knowledge and understanding. Marine Biology. 160 (9), 2295-2317. doi 10.1007/s00227-013-2232-6

Pearce, D.A., Hodgson, D.A., Burns, G & Cockell, C.S. (2013). Microbiology of a former subglacial lake sediment in Antarctica. Preliminary analysis of life within a former subglacial lake sediment in Antarctica. Diversity, 5 (3). 680-702. doi10.3390/d5030680.

McCarthy, D., Pearce, D.A., Patching, J. and Fleming, G. (2013). Contrasting prokaryotic responses to nutrient enrichment at two deep-sea sites in the Southern Indian Ocean. Biology, 2, 1165-1188; doi:10.3390/biology2031165.

Chong, Chun Wie; Goh, Yuh Shan; Convey, Peter; Pearce, David; Tan, Irene Kit Ping (2013). Spatial pattern in Antarctica: what can we learn from Antarctic bacterial isolates? Extremophiles. 17 (5), 733-745 doi 10.1007/s00792-013-0555-3.


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