Professor David Pearce, a renowned microbiologist, has spent nearly 30 years studying polar regions. He began his career with the British Antarctic Survey before joining the University of Northumbria in Newcastle a decade ago.

In 2016, Pr. Pearce embarked on his first project with the Coriolis µ, a biological air sampler designed for quality control of biocontamination. The project, titled “ACE” for “Antarctique Circumnavigation Expedition”, involved an expedition around Antarctica. The goal was to sample the atmosphere around the Antarctic continent to test the hypothesis that airborne bacteria move either inward or outward from the continent.

Thanks to its compact design and ease of installation, the Coriolis µ allowed Pr. Pearce to collect air samples with unparalleled precision. Its ability to sample large volumes of air was crucial for the 90-day expedition. The results revealed significant variability in the taxonomic distribution of bacteria in the air around Antarctica. However, no clear correlation was found with topographical proximity to land or marine influences.

Pr. Pearce continues his research using the Coriolis µ, now focusing on the functional diversity of bacteria in the atmosphere above the North Pole. He measures the concentration of ice nucleation genes in bacteria, opening new avenues for understanding the impact of climate change on microbial communities.

Discover in this interview his work experience in polar regions and his use of the Coriolis µ to sample airborne bacteria.