Tickled Pink: The Biology of the North Arm
The pink waters of Gunnison bay are home to thousands of species of charismatic microfauna. Dr. Baxter will discuss the composition of the microbial communities and their strategies for life in salt-saturated brine. What secrets do these extremophiles hold? What do they tell us about the limits of life on Earth or in Space? And most of all…why are they pink?
Professor of Biology
Director, Great Salt Lake Institute
Westminster College, Salt Lake City, UT
Dr. Baxter has been studying the microbial communities of Great Salt Lake for more than fifteen years, applying her background in cellular biochemistry to the physiology of halophilic archaea, which dominate in the lake’s saltiest brines. This expertise has led to many discoveries relating to DNA damage and repair mechanisms, carotenoid photobiology, microbial diversity, mercury methylation, and stromatolite formation. In 2008, Dr. Baxter and colleagues created Great Salt Lake Institute at Westminster College which facilitates research and education of all things Great Salt Lake.