Banfield Laboratory

University of California, Berkeley



Acid Mine Drainage Community Study

The Iron Mountain Mine Superfund Site in Redding, California is the site of one of our most comprehensive metagenomic projects.


Microbial communities that live in acid mine drainage, this extreme environment characterized by low pH and high metal concentrations, are characterized by a very limited number of species. The microbial and geochemical simplicity of these systems makes them ideal targets for quantitative, genomic-based analyses of microbial ecology and evolution and community function.



In addition, primary production rates in the underground microbial communities have been shown to be comparable to those of microbial communities occurring in some non-extreme environments, making this a tractable, fully contained carbon and nutrient cycling system.


Our work in this system involves a combination of mineralogy, geochemistry, and microbial community analysis (including in situ studies of microbial populations and genomics-, metabolomics- and proteomics-based analyses of diversity and function).


For information on our specific projects in this system, visit our AMD research page here.