Ferran Garcia-Pichel and his collaborators study the roles, adaptations and impacts of microbes in natural environments that range from desert soils to shallow marine waters.The microbes Garcia-Pichel’s lab studies play roles of ecological importance, including the formation and destruction of minerals, the prevention of soil erosion, or the biogeochemical cycling of nutrients. Ecosystems of interest include deserts and tropical islands, along with examining ecosystems from Earth’s past and throughout time.
His current foci are on microbial adaptations involve studying mechanisms of carbonate dissolution, the production of sunscreen compounds, and the microbial ability to produce hydrogen from water. Current applied aspects of their research include developing strategies for the sustainable recovery of degraded arid lands and searching for novel microbial capacities and products that have potential use in biomedicine and technology.
Garcia-Pichel is a Regents Professor in the School of Life Sciences. He is interested in improving undergraduate and graduate education. He teaches entry-level microbiology, advanced microbial ecology and geomicrobiology courses.