What if the genes found in certain bacteria could shed light on how these tiny organisms work in and with freshwater environments? That’s exactly what Civil and Environmental Engineering Associate Professor Julie Maresca and Professor Thomas Hanson with the School of Marine Science and Policy hope to explore through a recently awarded two-year National Science Foundation grant.

The nearly $400,000 in funding will allow these researchers and their teams to develop methods for genetic engineering of bacteria commonly found in freshwater environments. By manipulating genes, they can find out what genetic characteristics help these bacteria thrive, and their work can ultimately help other researchers understand the linkages between genes and ecosystem functions.