Scientist in the Spotlight: Magnetotactic bacteria

Friday, November 2, 2018 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Friday, December 7, 2018 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Natural History Museum of Utah | Naturalist Lab

Scientist Courtney Wagner stands in shallow water of the Great Salt Lake.
Geobiologists use what we already understand about modern organisms and apply these ideas to the fossil record to try and learn more. Meet geobiologist Courtney Wagner and learn about her research on some of the smallest organisms in modern and ancient environments, including one practically interesting organism called Magnetotactic bacteria (or MTB). MTB are a group of bacteria that have a special ability to orient along the magnetic field lines of Earth’s magnetic field!

Explore how we can use these fascinating organisms to better understand changes in the health of present, past, and future aquatic environments, and how we think these critters survive "microenvironmental disasters." Come get your hands dirty as you try to find MTB in sediments from the Great Salt Lake. Learn how these organisms go from our modern environments to being preserved in the rock record and some of the implications of this. Join Courtney and learn about the wonderful, intimate world of magnetotactic bacteria.

Scientist in the Spotlight is held on the first and third Friday of each month from 2–4 p.m. The program allows Museum guests to meet real scientists and discuss their research. See link below for additional scientists in the series.


Included in Museum admission, free to members and University of Utah faculty, staff, and students with a current U ID.