The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...' --Isaac Asimov
That's Funny… random header image


August 27th, 2014 by eric

Hello Seoul!

Make sure to meet Cryomics postdoc Anne-Lise Ducluzeau at poster #109A in Session PS23 – Biodiversity, adaptation and interactions in extreme environments.

Also don’t miss Jeff Bowman‘s talk on Friday at 2:30 in CS40: Biodiversity, adaptation and interactions in extreme — “Increased rates of horizontal gene transfer in psychrophilic genomes and potential links to the Phanerozoic climate record”.

ISME 2014v2

Tags:   · · · · · · No Comments.

Graduate Student Assistantship at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

July 29th, 2014 by eric


to begin Spring/Summer 2015

A graduate student assistantship (M.S. or Ph.D.) is available in the laboratory of Dr. Eric Collins at the University of Alaska Fairbanks ( Contact Dr. Collins ( to discuss the position in more detail. Please include a brief description of your research interests, experience, and academic preparations. Competitive applicants will have a strong academic background in the natural sciences, prior field or research experience, and an interest in microbial ecology and evolution. Applications should be made to the graduate program in the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (, applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Funding is available for an M.S. or Ph.D. student to develop a thesis project investigating the diversity, distribution, and evolution of polar marine microorganisms. The student will engage with a team of researchers at the University of Alaska on the broader question of how biophysical processes (e.g. sea ice, primary production) influence the entry and fate of elements, greenhouse gases and contaminants in Arctic marine ecosystems. This is an inter-disciplinary project that includes experts on sea ice, polar oceanography, biogeochemistry, microbial ecology, and genomics. The candidate will have the opportunity to engage with students and faculty across these disciplines. Field work for the project is based primarily in the Alaskan Arctic, with the potential for additional field work conducted on the R/V Sikuliaq ( Prior experience with bioinformatics or computer programming is highly desirable.

Please see the following websites for more information about UAF (, the Institute of Marine Sciences (, the UAF Graduate School (, and Dr. Collins’ research ( The University of Alaska Fairbanks is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. UAF is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institution. Members of traditionally under-represented groups are especially encouraged to apply.

Tags:   · · · · · · · · · No Comments.

Next stop, Greenland!

March 3rd, 2014 by eric

Click through to check out my latest adventure: the Greenland Ice Microbiome Project!


Tags:   · · · No Comments.

The coming extinction of old sea ice

February 22nd, 2014 by eric

This video shows the disturbing truth hidden in the data, which is that while Arctic sea ice extent (the area of ocean covered by ice) has been declining at 13% per decade (in summer, 3% in winter), the volume and age of the ice have been declining more rapidly. Whereas in 1987 there were extensive areas of the ocean covered by thick, sturdy ice 10 years or older, by 2013 that type of ice is nearly extinct. Most Antarctic sea ice is first-year ice to begin with, so once it is gone from the Arctic it is probably not coming back in our species’ lifetime.

Tags:   · · · · · 1 Comment

Woohoo! Astrobiology course approved!

February 13th, 2014 by eric


My Astrobiology course was approved by the Provost, so next spring I will be able to offer MSL294 Astrobiology: Planets, Oceans, and Life at the University of Alaska Fairbanks!!

From the syllabus

Astrobiology is the study of the origins, evolution, and future of life on Earth and elsewhere in the Universe. From humble beginnings as self-replicating chemical systems in primordial oceans to advanced civilizations capable of interplanetary flight, life has survived and thrived on Earth for billions of years. But are we alone? The goal of this course is to discover what scientists have learned about life in the universe while working to answer that question.

MSL 294, Astrobiology, 3+0 credits
Prerequisites: ENGL 111X and one of the following: BIOL 103X, CHEM 103X, GEOS 101X, PHYS 102X.
Study of life in the universe from a transdisciplinary perspective, bringing together insights from physics, astronomy, geology, chemistry, and biology. Topics include the evolution of the universe, planets, oceans and life. Past and present oceans found in the Solar System provide case studies from which to examine the potential for life on and off the Earth. Societal questions related to the origins of life, global climate change, and the possibility of extraterrestrial life will be discussed

Tags:   · · · · 2 Comments