The Fringe Lab (Geomicrobiology)


The Fringe Lab studies some of the smallest life forms on earth: bacteria and archaea. They study these microbes in environments you might be familiar with — lakes, rivers, streams, and snow — as well as environments you might be less familiar with (and where we might not like to live or play)  — hot springs and glaciers. Their research addresses questions about how microbes figured out how to use sunlight, how microbes live across such a large temperature range (snow and ice to boiling water), and how microbes and other small life forms impact big environmental processes that affect the air we breathe, such as the greenhouse effect, oxygen cycle, and nitrogen cycle.

The Fringe Lab conducts DNA analysis to learn how microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, algae, and archaea are selected by and shape their environment. To learn more about how the Fringe Lab uses DNA analysis, check out this research video and visit the research section of their website!

Fun Facts:

If you could unwind your DNA you’d see that it’s VERY long. It’d reach to the sun and back to Earth over 600 times!

If you tried to stretch it all the way to the Sun how far would you get?

DNA is what makes us unique, but how similar do you think your DNA is to your neighbors? 

The answer is that your DNA is 99.9% similar to your neighbors.

The Fringe Lab studies microorganisms all over the globe. Here are some of the places we’ve been. 

If you could accompany us on a field trip which would you choose?

– Yellowstone National Park 

– Rotorua, New Zealand 

– Mt. Hood, Oregon

– Iron Springs Bog, Minnesota

– Mississippi Headwaters, Minnesota

– Iceland 


Fringe Lab website

Fringe Lab member profiles (Q&A)

Research introduction

Want to extract DNA from home? Curious what it’s like to analyze sequencing data? The Fringe Lab has all the tools you’ll need! Check it out using this activity link.