CSU, Chico News

Museum Without Walls Lecture Series Examines the Microbes of Boiling Springs Lake

Date: 04-07-2011

Joe Wills, Public Affairs Director
Debra Johnson, Marketing
Dr. Rachel Teasdale, Acting Executive Director

Gateway Science Museum and the College of Natural Sciences at California State University, Chico presents “Mud, Germs, and Steam: the Microbes of Boiling Springs Lake, Lassen Volcanic National Park” Wednesday, April 13, during the University’s celebration of Founders Week. The program, hosted by professor Gordon Wolfe, is the second lecture in the spring Museum Without Walls Lecture Series, Microbes on Extreme Missions, held at the Chico Area Recreation District Center.

Wolfe is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, CSU, Chico, where he has been teaching microbiology and other courses since 2000. His research focuses on the ecology of microbial eukaryotes in the oceans and other environments. He has been working at Lassen Volcanic National Park since 2002. Wolfe’s MWOW program will provide an overview of the microbial ecology of Boiling Springs Lake, a National Science Foundation Microbial Observatory that he is studying in collaboration with colleagues from Humboldt State University and Portland State University. This highly acidic geothermal site is North America’s largest hot spring and a unique ecosystem. Wolfe will describe the research team’s efforts to characterize the physical environment and discover the microbes that call it home.

Each MWOW lecture is held on a Wednesday night and begins at 7:30 p.m. at the CARD Center, 545 Vallombrosa Ave., Chico. A donation of $3 per adult is requested. Students with ID are free. A question-and-answer period will follow each program.

Additional lectures in the MWOW spring series include “From Microbes to Penguins, Seals, and Whales – Antarctica, the White Continent” by Patricia Edelmann, professor emerita, Department of Biological Sciences, April 20; “Microbes and The Wastewater Treatment Plant: An Unusual Partnership?” by Marc Sulik and Debbie Stolp, city of Chico Wastewater Treatment Plant, April 27.

The spring MWOW is an extension of the Gateway Science Museum’s current exhibit, Microbes: Invisible Invaders…Amazing Allies, which runs through May 30. The interactive exhibit reveals what microbes are (bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa—“germs” to most people), explores a history of infectious diseases, and shows how researchers and individuals fight infection worldwide. The exhibit is sponsored by Pfizer Inc. and produced by Evergreen Exhibitions in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health.

Gateway Science Museum is open Wednesday – Friday, noon to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is located at 625 Esplanade. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children and free for museum members. For more information, please visit www.gatewayscience.org.