Antarctic Microbial Mats


We are studying microbial communities in ice covered Antarctic lakes to develop a predictive understanding of how microbial communities produce complex microbialite morphologies.  Specifically, we want to understand how mats form ridged and peaked morphologies and to constrain environmental and biological influences on morphology.

The Project

Dawn’s Blog

Tyler’s Blog

Dale’s Home Page

Anne’s Home Page

A video of Dawn’s presentation to the NASA Astrobiology Institute on our research results in spring 2011.


Hawes, I., D.Y. Sumner, D. T. Andersen, A-D. Jungblut, and T.J. Makey*, 2013. Timescales of growth response of microbial mats to environmental change in an ice-covered Antarctic lake.  Biology, Special Issue on Polar Microbiology, v. 2, p. 151-176. DOI: 10.3390/biology2010151

Andersen, Dale T., Dawn Y. Sumner, Ian Hawes, Jenny Webster-Brown, and Christopher P. McKay, 2011.  Discovery of large conical stromatolites in Lake Untersee, Antarctica.  Geobiology, v. 9, p. 280-293 DOI: 10.1111/j.1472-4669.2011.00279.x

Hawes, Ian, Dawn Y. Sumner, Dale T. Andersen, and Tyler Mackey*, 2011.  Legacies of recent environmental change in the benthic communities of Lake Joyce, a perennially ice covered, Antarctic lake.  Geobiology, v. 9, p. 394-410. DOI: 10.1111/j.1472-4669.2011.00289.x


(Photos by Dale Andersen; clockwise from top: Lake Joyce, Lake Vanda, and Lake Untersee)

Lakes Joyce, Vanda, and Untersee

ScienceNews on results from Lake Untersee

ScienceNews for Kids on results from Lake Untersee on results from Lake Untersee

OnOrbit on our work on Lake Joyce

News Coverage of Our Antarctic Research