Jillian Petersen is a postdoctoral fellow in the Symbiosis Department at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany. Jillian studies the ecology and evolution of symbioses between marine invertebrates and chemosynthetic bacteria. These bacteria need reduced chemicals such as hydrogen, hydrogen sulfide and methane to power their metabolism. Her research subjects are therefore found where these substances are produced in the oceans; at deep-sea hydrothermal vents and cold seeps, but also in shallow habitats such as coastal sands and seagrass sediments.
Jillian Petersen obtained her bachelors degree in microbiology from the University of Queensland, Australia, in 2004. Her masters and PhD degrees followed in 2006 and 2009, both at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany. Jillian will be moving to the University of Vienna this year to start a research group on marine symbioses.
"I'm excited about our upcoming exploration of cold seeps in the northern Gulf of Mexico, because these are some of the best-studied seep sites in the world, and yet there is still so much we don't know about the animals and microbes that live there. New discoveries at well-known sites such as these are all the more exciting because they're so unexpected!"