The primary goal of the research project is to collate the physical, chemical, and microbial biodiversity information from 1,000 geothermal ecosystems from the Taupo Volcanic Zone (TVZ). While geothermal ecosystems are understood to be hotspots for unique and diverse microbial populations, we currently know very little about what microbial populations are resident in these environments.

The research will provide a means to assess the conservation, cultural, recreational and resource development value of the microbial component of geothermal ecosystems, and will underpin future microbial ecology research, conservation and biodiscovery.

Map of geothermal systems
in the Taupo Volcanic Zone

Research aims:
  1. Microbial and physicochemical diversity of geothermal features assessment: The microbial diversity, and associated physicochemical conditions will be determined for 1,000 geothermal features in the TVZ, and the total genetic content of each sampled microbial ecosystem will be extracted;
  2. Archiving microbial diversity and genetic potential: DNA from 1,000 geothermal ecosystems will be archived for long-term access at GNS Science and the University of Waikato; and
  3. Environmental indicator (‘uniqueness’ metric prediction): The microbial and physicochemical diversity data will be assessed via a set of criteria that ranks ecosystem ‘uniqueness’.

Outputs include a publicly accessible online database of the microbial and geochemical diversity; a genetic archive of the total environmental DNA; and development of a ‘uniqueness’ metric tool for interpreting the data.

The knowledge generated pertains to natural resources that (i) landowners and/or Māori may wish to sustainably develop and/or protect, (ii) companies might wish to utilise (e.g. energy, power, biotechnology, tourism), (iii) central and regional government agencies are charged with managing and conserving (e.g. DOC, EPA, MPI, regional councils), and (iv) the scientific community seeks to understand.

This research is being jointly undertaken by GNS Science & the University of Waikato, with funding support from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

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Please contact us if you have any queries about this data

Contact details:

Matthew Stott (GNS Science): m.stott@gns.cri.nz

Craig Cary (University of Waikato): caryc@waikato.ac.nz

Personnel involved in the 1000 Springs Project

Mathew Button
Push Button Developments
Programmer, Applications Support.
Email: mathewdbutton@gmail.com
Role: Website and database development
Craig Cary
University of Waikato - Thermophile Research Unit
Professor, Director DNA Sequencing & ERI Theme Leader
Email: caryc@waikato.ac.nz
Web: http://sci.waikato.ac.nz/about-us/people/caryc
Roles: Co-PI, ecology, bioinformatics and sequencing
Melissa Climo
GNS Science - Geothermal Resources
Research Coordinator.
Email: m.climo@gns.cri.nz
Roles: Management, outreach, grant writing and herding cats.
Dave Evans
GNS Science - Extremophiles Research Group
Field Staff.
Email: D.evans@gns.cri.nz
Web: http://www.gns.cri.nz/extremophiles
Roles: Field sampling and sample processing.
Annika Hinze
University of Waikato - Computer Science
Lecturer, Information Systems and Databases.
Email: hinze@cs.waikato.ac.nz
Web: http://www.waikato.ac.nz/research/expertise/staff/AnnikaHinze.shtml
Roles: Applications development, product development and database design
Charlie Lee
University of Waikato - Thermophiles Research Group
Research Fellow. Bioinformatics and microbial ecology.
Email: cklee@ Waikato.ac.nz,
Web: http://sci.waikato.ac.nz/about-us/people/cklee
Roles: Bioinformatics, sequencing and ecology
Ian McDonald
University of Waikato - Thermophile Research Unit
Associate Professor, Microbiology and Molecular Biology
Email: irmcdon@waikato.ac.nz
Web: http://sci.waikato.ac.nz/about-us/people/irmcdon
Roles: Phylogenetics, bioinformatics, sequencing and ecology
Jean Power
GNS Science - Extremophiles Research Group
Senior Technician & doctoral candidate (part-time)
Email: j.power@gns.cri.nz
Web: http://www.gns.cri.nz/extremophiles
Roles: Sampling co-ordination, sampling and sample processing, geochemistry, ecology, everything.
Matthew Stott
GNS Science - Extremophiles Research Group
Senior Scientist, microbiology & microbial ecology
Email: m.stott@gns.cri.nz
Web: http://www.gns.cri.nz/extremophiles
Role: Co-PI, sampling, geochemistry, ecology, Jack-of-all-trades, Master-of -none.
Georgia Wakerley
University of Waikato - Thermophile Research Unit
Laboratory Technician
Email: georgiaw@waikato.ac.nz
Roles: DNA extraction and sequencing, Ninja
Duncan White
GNS Science - Applications Group
Analyst Programmer
Email: D.white@gns.cri.nz
Roles: Android and website development, pixel fiddling, general MacGyvering.

People that have assisted with this project:

Carlo Carere
Karen Houghton
Kevin Lee
Microbiology in Extreme Environments