Measurement of microniches in marine sediment environment

My first encounter with research was during my master thesis project. During this year I tried to develop a reliable method to detect microniches in marine sediments. Microniches being small (<1mm) structures where elements like sulfide, iron ... are found in higher concentrations as the immediate environment. Together with my promotors (Yue Gao and Willy Baeyens) I managed to use Diffusive Gradients in Thin Films (DGT) in combination with Laser Ablation Inductively Couple Plasma Mass Spectrometry to simultaneously detect sulfide and trace metal hotspots, leading to a publication in TrAC (Gao et al., 2015).


Electricity in the Seafloor

After my master thesis, I immediately continued with a PhD project under the guidance of Filip Meysman and Yue Gao. This thesis focuses on the effect of cable bacteria on geochemical redox cycling in marine sediments. These bacteria form long cables (hence the name) up to 7cm in the upper layers of the sediment, and transport electrons from the deeper, sulfide rich layers to the upper, oxygen rich zone. This electron transport (i.e. electrical current) turns the whole seafloor in a battery and has a major impact on the geochemistry.

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