University of Newcastle upon Tyne (UNEW)

The School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences (CEGs) is home to internationally renowned petroleum microbiology and geochemistry research groups. Their research combines strengths in molecular microbial ecology and petroleum geochemistry to allow for a comprehensive understanding of biogeochemical processes in surface environments and in subsurface petroleum reservoirs. State of the art molecular biology facilities complement a complete suite of instruments for organic geochemistry, including GC-IR-MS, LC-MS, and various types of GCMS.
Main tasks in the project

  • Determining factors controlling the fate of crude oil in anoxic sediments (WP5)
  • Determining growth yields and kinetics of oil degrading bacteria for integration in process models (WP5)
  • Determining the fate of crude oil on sunken sorbent materials in anoxic sediments (WP3)
  • Determining the significance of anaerobic oil degradation in large scale field tests (WP 8)
Ian M. Head - Contact this person by email

Ian Head is Professor of Environmental Microbiology in the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences. His work is inherently interdisciplinary and he has a track record of working at the interface of environmental microbiology and geochemistry with significant contributions to the understanding of crude oil degradation under anoxic and oxic conditions. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers including in Nature and PNAS. He was elected to the European Academy of Microbiology in 2011 and is a Senior Editor of the ISME Journal. (At kick-off meeting).

Angela Sherry - Contact this person by email

Angela Sherry is a research fellow in Geomicrobiology in the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences. She has extensive experience of characterising the microbial communities involved in anaerobic oil biodegradation, through industry-funded collaborations, EU and UK research council funded projects. Her recent research has focused on the role of thermophilic, spore-forming, sulfate-reducing bacteria implicated in oil reservoir souring, and the effects of nutrient addition on rates of aerobic and anaerobic oil biodegradation.