Raina Maier
Interim Director, Institute of the Environment
Professor, Soil, Water, and Environmental Science
(520) 621-7234
Ph.D. Microbiology, Rutgers University, 1988

Our group combines molecular ecology and physiological approaches to exploit bacteria and their activities and products for the benefit of human health and the environment. We seek patterns in the diversity and community structure of bacteria in oligotrophic environments including arid mine tailings from around the world, subsurface soils, desert soils and carbonate caves, and household dusts. These patterns are then related to soil formation and nutrient cycling processes to better understand the potential for these environments to withstand anthropogenic and climate induced stress. A second major area of research focuses on microbially produced surfactants (biosurfactants). These amazing molecules have been the basis for several research discoveries related to the field of environmental cleanup as well as two patents.

Research Themes: 
Ecosystem management
Data analysis
Carbon cycling
Ecosystem ecology
Ecosystem restoration
Public Health
Soil contaminants
Sustainable mining
Science Engagement
Connecting science and decision making
Arid lands
Biogeochemical processes
Groundwater remediation

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