D'Arcy Meyer-Dombard

Associate Professor

BA Environmental Studies Program, 1998, Washington University in St. Louis
MA Earth and Planetary Science, 2000, Washington University in St. Louis
PhD Earth and Planetary Science, 2004, Washington University in St. Louis
Postdoctoral Associate Earth and Planetary Sciences, 2005-2007, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


In the EDGElab (Ecosystem Dynamics in Geochemical Environments), we are interested in investigations and experimentation that explore the interactions between microorganisms and their environments, specifically in ecosystems that present environmental challenges. These include [but are not limited to], hydrothermal systems, high and low pH systems, systems that access the "deep, dark biosphere," and processes of biomineralization (biofilms, microbialites, microbial mats). We also think about Astrobiology and life in Early Earth environments, and how these relate to life on current Earth.

I'm also interested in microbial processes in geochemically interesting environments, focussing on interfaces between microorganisms, fluids, and minerals. This includes biogeochemical cycling in hydrothermal systems, springs tapping into the "deep" biosphere, and systems where biomineralization is occurring. I use molecular (genomic), microbiological, geochemical, and isotopic parameters to identify the metabolic strategies, nutrient/energy requirements, and geochemical signatures (lipid biomarkers) of so-called "extreme" environments. My focus over the next several years will be carbon, nitrogen, and energy cycling in hydrothermal sediment and biofilm communities, serpentinizing springs, and caves. I also have a long-standing interest in applications of Earth-analog environments in the study of Astrobiology and life in early Earth ecosystems.

Selected Publications (* student):

  • Meyer-Dombard, D.R., *Woycheese, K.M., *Yargıçoğlu, E.N., Cardace, D., Shock, E.L., *Güleçal-Pektas, Y., Temel, M. High pH microbial ecosystems in a newly discovered, ephemeral, serpentinizing fluid seep at Yanartaş (Chimaera), Turkey. Frontiers in Extreme Microbiology. in press.

  • *Woycheese, K.M., Meyer-Dombard, D.R., Cardace, D., Argayosa, A., Arcilla, C. Out of the dark: Transitional subsurface-to-surface microbial diversity in a terrestrial serpentinizing seep (Manleluag, Pangasinan, the Philippines). Frontiers in Extreme Microbiology. in press.

  • Cardace, D., Meyer-Dombard, D.R., *Woycheese, K.M., Arcilla, C.A. Feasible metabolic schema associated with high pH springs in the Philippines. Frontiers in Extreme Microbiology. in press.

  • Schubotz, F., Hays, L.E., Meyer-Dombard, D.R., Gillespie, A., Shock, E.L., Summons, R.E. Stable isotope labeling confirms heterotrophy is a major metabolic pathway in streamer biofilm communities from alkaline hot springs. Frontiers in Extreme Microbiology. in press.

  • Meyer-Dombard, DR, MR Osburn and JP Amend (2013). Microbial diversity and potential for arsenic and iron biogeochemical cycling at an arsenic rich, shallow-sea hydrothermal vent (Tutum Bay, Papua New Guinea). Chemical Geology 348:37-47.

  • Schubotz, F., Meyer-Dombard, D.R., Bradley, A.S., Fredricks, H.F., Hinrichs, K.-U., Shock, E.L., Summons, R.E. (2013). Spatial and temporal variability of biomarkers and microbial diversity reveal metabolic and community flexibility in Streamer Biofilm Communities in the Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Geobiology. 11:549-569.

  • Meyer-Dombard, D.R., M.R. Osburn, R. Price, T. Pichler, J.P. Amend. (2012) Prokaryotic populations in heated, arsenic-rich sediments of a shallow-sea hydrothermal system, Ambitle Island, Papua New Guinea. Geomicrobiology Journal. 29: 1-17.

  • *Loiacono, ST, DR Meyer-Dombard, JR Havig, EL Shock, A Poret-Pederson and H Hartnett (2012). Expression of nifH genes across a temperatures gradient in an alkaline hydrothermal spring, Yellowstone National Park. Environmental Microbiology 14(5): 1272-1283.

  • Meyer-Dombard DR, Shock EL, Amend JP. (2012). Effects of Trace Element Concentrations on Culturing Thermophiles. Extremophiles, 16: 317-331.

  • Swingley, W. D., Meyer-Dombard, D. R., Alsop, E.B., Falenski, H.D., Havig, J. R.,Shock, E.L., and Raymond, J. (2012). Coordinating environmental genomics and geochemistry reveals metabolic transitions in a hot spring ecosystem. PLoS ONE, 7(6): e38108.

  • Meyer-Dombard, D.R., Swingley, W., Havig, J., Shock, E.L., Summons, R.E., (2011). Hydrothermal Ecotones and Streamer Biofilm Communities in the Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park. Environmental Microbiology 13: 2216-2231.

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Contact Information

Office: 2474 SES, MC 186
Phone: 312-996-2423
Fax: 312-413-2279
Email: drmd@uic.edu