Paul grew up on a dairy farm within a geothermal region located in New Zealand's North Island which stimulated his interest in animals and microbial life in extreme environments and led him to study these areas at Massey University (Palmerston North, New Zealand). After completing undergraduate degrees in Animal Science and Microbiology at Massey University, Paul obtained a position at the AgResearch Rumen Microbiology laboratory (Palmerston North) as part of a team studying methane mitigation strategies in livestock where he developed anaerobic and molecular biology skills. Following on from the five years of work as a research assistant at AgResearch, Paul gained a position as a PhD student at the CSIRO Rumen Microbiology laboratory (Brisbane, Australia) where he continued in the area of his interests (anaerobic microbiology and methanogenesis). Upon completion of his doctoral studies he obtained a position at the Australian Centre for Ecogenomics (ACE), again studying anaerobic environments, this time from deep aquifers of Australian inland basins and dabbling in anaerobic microbiology of permafrost soils.
Here at ACE, Paul continues to develop both his laboratory based anaerobic microbiology and molecular skills along with the analysis of microbial metabolic pathways using computer based software to elucidate microbial processes that are occurring in the deep aquifer and permafrost environments.
Google Scholar website: http://scholar.google.com.au/citations?user=rbbJlnYAAAAJ&hl=en
Recent ground-breaking studies show the existence of widely distributed groups of novel Archaea that are potentially involved in methane metabolism.
This project focuses on identifying and selecting methanotrophs that form polyhydroxyalkonate (PHA) based bioplastics using high through-put DNA sequencing, molecular and engineering techniques.
Microbial communities in the northern permafrost wetlands are central to understanding current and future global carbon cycling.