Volcanic geothermal sources are widely distributed on earth, being concentrated in areas with high tectonic activity. Volcanic activity in Antarctica can be found in circumpolar islands and some continental sites. Antarctica has extreme weather conditions and its geographical isolation offers unique features for studies of microbial evolution. Deception Island (circumpolar South Shetland Islands), is a horseshoe-shaped stratovolcano that has a series of fumaroles and hot springs. Studies directed to functional microbial diversity in these environments are still very scarce, mainly due to methodological limitations. Only recently have been developed new technologies for DNA sequencing that enabled the emergence of metagenomic technique, being possible to evaluate the physiological and metabolic profiles of the community. In this context, this project aims to describe the structure of the microbial community as their functional and phylogenetic diversity in environments with geothermal activities in Deception Island, through metagenomic techniques, as well as identifying culturable microorganisms in these samples, using traditional cultivation methods and High-throughput cultivation methods . Whereas the physiological and metabolic characteristics of the micro-organisms are essential for the study of microbial communities and their interaction with the environment, this study should provide a more detailed understanding of the central questions of physiological adaptation and microbial evolution in geothermal environments, and provide clues about the emergence of life in similar environments commonly found on Pre-Cambrian Earth.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: