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Stream Biofilm Research Group
School of Biological Sciences
The University of Auckland
3a Symonds Street
Auckland, New Zealand
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streambiofilmgmail.com

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The Stream Biofilm Team

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Gavin Lear

Gavin graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2000 with a BSc in Environmental Biology. He then commenced his PhD studies at the University of Oxford examining the effect of an electrokinetic remediation process on soil health, completing in 2004. Gavins first Post-Doctoral role, under the supervision of Prof. Jon Lloyd (University of Manchester, UK) used the stable-isotope-probing of nucleic acids to study the role of inputs of organic matter on arsenic mobilisation within contaminated sediments, elucidating the specific organisms driving this process. Gavin joined the the Stream Biofilm Project in 2006 as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow. He is now based at Lincoln University.

Research

Gavin's Post-Doctoral Research investigates the effect of external perturbations (both natural and anthropogenic change) on the microbial diversity and activity within stream biofilms, with a particular focus on identifying microbial markers' for healthy stream systems. It is intended that such markers may be used to both identify and aid the restoration of whole community dynamics within degraded freshwater systems. At present, we are increasing our understanding of the importance of freshwater epilithic microbial communities with the use of novel techniques in molecular microbiology. For example, we recently identified a direct link between inputs of exogenous carbon and the decreased prevalence of autotrophic organisms within stream biofilms using RNA stable-isotope-probing. This enabled us to trace to the flow of exogenous carbon directly into the biomass of active stream organisms, which were then identified using clone library sequence analysis. Whilst fish and invertebrates have commonly been utilised to monitor stream ecological health, in order to understand the processes controlling "whole-system" stream restoration, we emphasise the need to consider the recovery of freshwater streams at the lower trophic levels. It is the microorganisms within biofilms that constitute the key basal trophic level within most freshwater systems, and a better understanding of these frequently complex communities may help to identify where the constraints for full system recovery occur. We are currently developing techniques to assess both the rate and extent of community change within stream biofilms when exposed a variety of environmental pressures.

Recent Publications

Lear, G., McBeth, JM., Boothman, C., Gunning, DJ., Ellis, B., Lawson, R., Morris, K., Burke, IT., Bryan, ND., Livens, FR., Lloyd, JR. (accepted for publication) Towards the in situ remediation of radioactive waste; probing the biogeochemical behaviour of technetium using a novel nuclear imaging technique. Environmental Science and Technology x: x-x.

Lear, G., Niyogi, D., Harding, J., Dong, Y., Lewis, GD. (2009) Biofilm bacterial community structure in streams affected by acid mine drainage. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 75 (11) 3455-3460.

Lear, G., Boothroyd, IKG., Turner, SJ., Roberts, K., Lewis, GD (2009) A comparison of bacterial and benthic invertebrate community assemblages as indicators of ecological health within freshwater streams. Freshwater Biology 54: 1532-1543.

Lear, G., Lewis, GD (2009) Nested Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis: A rapid and accurate method for comparison of bacterial community composition. Journal of Rapid Methods and Automation in Microbiology 17: 257-270.

Harbottle, MJ., Lear, G., Sills, GC., Thompson, IP. (2009) Enhanced biodegradation of pentachlorophenol in an unsaturated soil. Journal of Environmental Management 90: 1893-1900.

Lear, G., Lewis, GD. (2009) Impact of catchment land use on bacterial communities within stream biofilms. Ecological Indicators 9: 848-855.

Lear, G., Anderson, MJ., Smith, JP., Boxen, K., Lewis, GD (2008) Spatial and temporal heterogeneity of the bacterial communities in stream epilithic biofilms. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 65(3) 463-473.

Héry, M., Gault, AG., Rowland, HAL., Lear, G., Polya, DA., Lloyd, JR (2008) Molecular and cultivation-dependent analysis of metal-reducing bacteria implicated in arsenic mobilisation in South East Asian Aquifers. Applied Geochemistry 23: 3215-3223

Lear, G., Turner, S., Lewis GD (2008) Effect of light regimes on the utilisation of an exogenous carbon source by biofilm bacterial communities. Aquatic Ecology 43: 207-220.

Dopheide, A., Lear, G., Stott, R., Lewis, GD (2008) Molecular characterisation of ciliate diversity in stream biofilms. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 74(6):1740-1747

Lear, G., Polya, DA., Song, B., Gault, AG Lloyd, JR. (2007) Molecular analysis of arsenate-reducing bacteria within Cambodian sediments following amendment with acetate. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 73(4): 1041-1048

Lear, G., Harbottle, MJ., Sills, G., Knowles, CJ., Thompson, IP. (2007) Impact of electrokinetic remediation on microbial communities within PCP contaminated soil. Environmental Pollution 146 (1): 139-146.

Al-Bokari, M., Boothman, C., Lear, G., Lloyd, JR and Livens, FR (2007) Responses of U and Pu to microbially driven nitrate reduction in sediments. Royal Society of Chemistry Special Publications: Environmental Radiochemical Analysis III. 312: 95-100.

McBeth, JM., Lear, G., Morris, K., Burke, IT., Livens, FR., Lloyd, JR (2007) Technetium reduction and reoxidation in aquifer sediments. Geomicrobiology Journal 23: 1-9

Fox, JR., Morris, K., Lear, G., Lloyd, JR., Mortimer, RJG., Beadle, I (2006) The biogeochemical behaviour of U(VI) in the simulated near-field of a low-level repository. Applied Geochemistry 21(9): 1539-1550.

Lear, G., Harbottle, MJ., van der Gast, CJ., Jackman, SA., Knowles, CJ., Sills, G and Thompson, IP (2004) The Effect of Electrokinetics on Soil Microbial Communities. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 36 (11): 1751-760.

Sills, GC., Bartholomeeusen, G., Lintern, DG., Harbottle, M and Lear, G. (2004) The Structure of Soil. In: Jardine, RJ., Potts, DM and Higgins, KG (Eds). Advances in Geotechnical Engineering: The Skempton Conference. American Society of Civil Engineers: London 1400 pp.

Published Abstracts

Lloyd, JR., Lear, G., Gault, AG., Rowland, HAL., Pederick, RL., Polya, DA., Vaughan, DJ., van Dongen, B., Pancost, RD and Charnock, JM (2007) Using stable isotope probing to dissect the microbial controls on arsenic speciation in SE Asian aquifers. Geophysical Research Abstracts 9: 10704

Lloyd, J.R. Lear, G., Gault, A.G., Rowland, H.A.L., Pederick, R.L., Polya, D., Vaughan, J., Pancost, R.D and Charnock, J.M. (2006) Microbial controls on arsenic speciation in SE Asian aquifers. Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society 231: 348-ANYL.

Al-Bokari, M., Boothman, C., Lear, G., Lloyd, JR and Livens, FR (2006) Responses of U and Pu to biologically driven redox transformations in sediments. Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society 231: 126-GEOC

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© Stream Biofilm Project, The University of Auckland 2008-2010
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