Freezing tolerance and cold adaptation


Supervised by: Associate Professor Craig Marshall 

Two projects are available.

Investigating Freezing Tolerance in an Antarctic Nematode

Life is suprisingly persistent in even the most hostile environments. The Antarctic is characterised by a cold and dry environment that persists for much of the year. Despite such unpromising conditions, a few organisms thrive. Among these is the nematode Panagrolaimus davidi, the only eukaryote known to naturally survive both dessication and complete freezing. We have identifed and tested a number of candidate genes and pathways likely to play a role in freezing-tolerance and dessiction. Extending our findings by using CRISPR/Cas is an obvious extension of this work and is the basis of this project.

Characterising Ice-Active Proteins from New Zealand Fauna and Flora

Freezing temperatures are common to almost all ecological zones in New Zealand. The abundant flora and fauna of these areas must have some tolerance or resistance to sub-zero temperatures. We have recently developed new techniques to isolate and characterise ice-active proteins that are common in freezing tolerant or resistant organisms. In this work, we will identify and isolate new classes of ice-active proteins from alpine and sub-alpine organisms from the southern regions of New Zealand and establish the basis of their function.