The Baillet Latour Antarctica Fellowship Committee unanimously selected Canadian Dr. Ziolkowski, based at the University of South Carolina (USA), to receive the prestigious €150,000 research grant. Her project “REMACA” aims to use the natural abundance of radiocarbon to study the rates of carbon accumulation and microbial activity. Through international collaboration, age estimates will be coupled with microbial community analyses to better characterize what microbes are active.
“Winning the Baillet Latour Fellowship award will allow me to collect samples and study rates of microbial activity in East Antarctica, one of the worlds remotest and most extreme environments. This research will improve our understanding of the limits of life on Earth” says Dr. Lori Ziolkowski.
This proposal received top scores from a Scientific Jury made up of three international experts in microbiology. The experts stated that the proposal described an excellent, well planned, novel and feasible research project led by a very well-qualified and knowledgeable applicant. They also agreed that the use of 14C to study carbon dynamics introduces an innovative aspect to research done in this field. Members of the Fellowship Committee also agreed that her proposal stood out from other candidates and follows up on previous Belgian microbiological research in the different habitats surrounding the Princess Elisabeth Station.
In January 2017, Dr. Ziolkowski will travel to the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica polar research station to begin her fieldwork. She will spend three weeks working at various sites within the vicinity of the station. More information about the REMACA project will be available in the coming months on the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica station website www.antarcticstation.org.