Dr Andrew Mitchell

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- Photograph of Dr Andrew Mitchell.

Contact

Email: nem@aber.ac.uk
Office: C15
Phone: +44 (0)1970 622 640
Fax: +44 (0)1970 622 659

Teaching Areas

  • Hydrochemistry and biogeochemistry
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Mineralogy

Research

Lab and field based research into:

  • Biogeochemical weathering and mineral formation
  • Microbe-metal-sediment interaction, transport and deposition
  • Environmental and hydrological biogeochemistry in glacierised and snow covered environments
  • Environmental engineering - Bioremediation in surface and groundwater; Subsurface geologic carbon sequestration, enhanced oil recovery

 

Grants and funding:

  • HEFCW research capital investment 2013-14. Ex2EL Extreme Experimental Environments Laboratory. Managers / Principal investigators Dr Andrew Mitchell and Dr Arwyn Edwards (£350,000).
  • EU Maire Curie Reintegration Grant. CO2 TRAP. Proposal No: 277005. PI. (€45,000).
  • NSF (2009) GBASE – (GeoMicrobiology of Antarctic Subglacial Environments). Date Submitted:  June 2008. Co-Principal investigator with John Priscu. Montana State University, and Slawek Tulaczyk (UC Santa Cruz). Proposal No: 0838933. ($1,121,000).  
  • US Department of Energy, Office of Science (2009). Microbial Activity and Precipitation at Solution-Solution Mixing Zones in Porous Media. Date Submitted:  April 2008. Co-Principal investigator with Frederick S. Colwell (Oregon State University), George Redden (INL), and Robin Gerlach (Montana State University). Submitted to DE-PS02-08ER08-09. ($1,348,7800)
  • NSF (2009) IMPACT OF MINERAL PRECIPITATING BIOFILMS ON THE PHYSICAL AND CHEMICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF POROUS MEDIA. Proposal number: 0934696. Co-Principal Investigator. $750,004 
  • European Centre for Arctic Environmental Research (ARCFAC V). Debris entrainment and transfer in Svalbard valley glaciers. Co-investigator with Michael Hambrey, Duncan Quincey (Aberystwyth University), Sean Fitzimons (Otago University, New Zeland). EC contract no. 026129. Support of travel, subsistence and laboratory requirements for 106 person days.
  • DOE EPSCoR Implementation Award (2008). Environmental Responses to Geologic CO2 Sequestrations ($2,010,429). Co-PI.. P.I. Al Cunningham.
  • NASA EPSCoR Space Grant (2007). Methanogenesis in subglacial environments – Implications for Quaternary deglaciation. ($66,009). PI.
  • Marie Curie Fellowship (2006). MC EIF - 041374 "Recryst". 2 years. Ranked # 1 in 2006 competition ($366,000).

Biography

Andy Mitchell has come from Montana State University where he was an Assistant Research Professor in the Faculty of Chemical and Biological Engineering. Andy’s interests are in the importance of microbes in regulating many common chemical reactions at the Earth’s surface and in the deep subsurface, specifically through the interaction with mineral surfaces. He is particularly interested in how such processes allow microorganisms to survive in cold and icy environments and potentially on other planets. Andy also undertakes applied research into manipulating these biogeochemical processes for environmental engineering purposes, including metal and radionuclide pacification and geologic carbon capture and storage. Prior to this, Andy was a EU Marie Curie Fellow at the NanoGeoScience Centre, University of Copenhagen, a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Microbiology, Montana State University, and a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Geology, University of Toronto. Andy has travelled and worked all over the world, and is particularly drawn to mountainous areas and mountain sports.

Additional Interests

Recent News

Andrew Mitchell has been conducting fieldwork at subglacial lake Whillans Antarctica as a PI on the WISSARD project (http://www.wissard.org/ ). The team successfully accessed the subglacial lake by hot water drilling through 800 m of ice, and was successful in obtaining water and sediment samples from the lake. This is the first clean-access sampling of a subglacial lake beneath and ice sheet, and ongoing research is focusing on identifying controls on life in these environments, microbial biogeochemistry, and the effect subglacial lakes have on ice-sheet dynamics. Initial analysis shows cells in the subglacial waters and sediment, as well as in the lake water itself, are highly concentrated, suggesting interesting rock-water-microbe interactions. Recent media coverage of the project can be seen at the following.

New York Times - Deep Under Antarctica, Looking for Signs of Life.15 January, 2013.

Fox News - The new cold war: US leads race to find life under Antarctica. 18 January, 2013.

Nature News Blog - Antarctic team reaches Lake Whillans. January, 2013

Discovery Magazine - Scientists First Glimpse Interior of an Antarctic Subglacial Lake.

Discovery Magazine - Dirt Samples Retrieved From Antarctic Lake Whillans.

Discovery Magazine - First Evidence of Life in Antarctic Subglacial Lake

BBC - Drill reaches Antarctica's under-ice Lake Whillans. By Jonathan Amos

National Geographic - Life Found Deep Under Antarctic Ice For First Time?

 

Andrew has been awarded a Marie Curie Reintegration grant to study microbe-mineral interactions in subsurface brines.

Andrew’s work on novel methods to enhance carbon capture and storage via microbially enhanced CO2 mineralisation and leakage reduction and was recently featured in New Scientist.

Andrew gave an invited talk at the American Geo[physical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco in December 2010, entitled ‘Microbially enhanced carbon capture and storage – From pores to cores (Invited)

 

Postgraduate students

Very interested to hear from any students with interests in microbe-mineral interactions, mineral formation and stability, metal and radionuclide pacification, carbon capture and storage, glacial biogeochemistry and microbiology. Possible sources of funding available.  

Facilities/equipment

  • Wet geochemistry (ICP-MS; AA, HP-LC, Voltammetery, High Precision titration).
  • Surface and solid chemistry; XRD, XPS.
  • Microcoscopy; SEM, TEM.
  • High pressure reaction vessels for mineral fluid interactions.
  • Microbiology, culturing and DNA work.
  • Microbe-mineral interactions under flow conditions / porous media

Staff Publications

Peer Reviewed Book Chapters & Journal Articles

2013

  1. Mitchell, AC,Lafrenière, MJ, Skidmore, ML, Boyd, ES. 2013. Influence of bedrock mineral composition on microbial diversity in a subglacial environment. Geology. DOI.
  2. Mitchell, AC, Phillips, A, Schultz, L, Parks, S, Spangler, L, Cunningham, AB, Gerlach. 2013. Microbial CaCO3 mineral formation and stability in an experimentally simulated high pressure saline aquifer with supercritical CO2. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control. 15, 86-96.
  3. Cunningham, AB, Lauchnor, E, Eldring, J, Esposito, R, Mitchell, AC, Gerlach, R, Phillips, AJ. Ebigbo, A, Spangler, LH. 2013. Abandoned Well CO2 Leakage Mitigation Using Biologically Induced Mineralization: Current Progress and Future Directions. Greenhouse Gases: Science and Technology. 3, 1, 40-49. Special Issue: Selected papers from the 11th US annual conference on Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration.
  4. Lauchnor, E, Schultz, L, Bugni, S, Mitchell, AC, Cunningham, A, Gerlach, R 2013. Bacterially induced calcium carbonate precipitation and strontium co-precipitation in a porous media flow system. 47,1557-1564. Environmental Science and Technology. DOI.

2012

  1. Mitchell, AC and Geesey, G. 2012. Role of outer membrane c-type cytochromes MtrC and OmcA in Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 cell production, accumulation, and detachment during respiration on hematite. Geobiology Journal. DOI.
  2. Phillips, AJ, Lauchnor, E, Eldring, J, Esposito, J, Mitchell, AC, Gerlach, R, Cunningham, AB and Spangler, LH. 2012. Potential CO2 Leakage Reduction through Biofilm-Induced Calcium Carbonate Precipitation. Environmental Science & Technology. DOI.
  3. Hassenkam, T., Mitchell, AC, Pederson, C., Skovbjerg, L., Bovet, N., and Stipp, S. 2012. The low salinity effect observed on sandstone model surfaces. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical Engineering Aspects. 403, 79-86.

2011

  1. Boyd, ES, Lange, RK, Mitchell, AC, Havig, JR, Hamilton, TR, Lafrenie, MJ, Shock, EL, Peters, JW, Skidmore, ML. 2011. Diversity, Abundance, and Potential Activity of Nitrifying and Nitrate-Reducing Microbial Assemblages in a Subglacial Ecosystem. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 77, 4778–4787.
  2. Schultz, L, Pitts, B, Mitchell, AC, Cunningham, AB,  Gerlach, R. 2011. Imaging Biologically-Induced Mineralization in Fully Hydrated Flow Systems. Microscopy Today, January 2011.
  3. Cunningham, AB, Gerlach, R, Spangler, L, Mitchell, AC, Parks, S, Phillips, A. 2011. Reducing the risk of well bore leakage of CO2 using engineered biomineralization barriers. Energy Procedia, Volume 4, 2011, Pages 5178-5185

2010

  1. Mitchell, AC, Didericksen K, Spangler, LH, Cunningham, AB, Gerlach, R. 2010. Microbially Enhanced Carbon Capture and Storage by Mineral-Trapping and Solubility-Trapping. Environmental Science and Technology, 44, 13, 5270–5276.
  2. Boyd, ES.; Skidmore, M.; Mitchell, AC.; Bakermans, C.; Peters, JW. 2010. Methanogenesis in subglacial sediments. Environmental Microbiology Reports.

 2009

  1. Mitchell, AC, Phillips, A, Heibert, R, Gerlach, R, Cunningham, A, Spangler, L. 2009. Biofilm Enhanced Geologic Sequestration of Supercritical CO2. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control,3, 90-99.
  2. Cunningham, A,, Gerlach, R, Spangler, L, Mitchell, AC, 2009. Microbially Enhanced Geologic Containment of Sequestered Supercritical CO2. Energy Procedia, 1, 1, 3245-3252.
  3. Mitchell, AC and Geesey, G. 2009. Role of outer-membrane cytochromes on dissimilatory iron reduction under natural-flow conditions. Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

2008

  1. Mitchell, AC, Phillips, A, Kaszuba, J, Hollis, HK, Gerlach, R, Cunningham, A. 2008. Resilience of planktonic and biofilm cultures to supercritical CO2. Journal of Supercritical Fluids, 47, 318-325.
  2. Mitchell, AC and Brown, GH. 2008. Modelling geochemical and biogeochemical reactions in subglacial environments. Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research, 40, 531-547.
  3. Geesey, G and Mitchell, AC. 2008. Relationships between hydrological, geochemical, and biological processes in subsurface environments. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 13, 28-36.

2007

  1. Mitchell, AC, Brown, GH and Fuge R. 2007. Diurnal hydrological - physicochemical controls and sampling methods for minor and trace elements in an Alpine glacial hydrological system. Journal of Hydrology, 332, 123-143.

2006

  1. Mitchell AC, Brown GH, Fuge R. 2006. Minor and trace elements as indicators of solute provenance and flow routing in a subglacial hydrological system. Hydrological Processes, 20: 877-897.
  2. Mitchell, AC and Ferris, FG. 2006. The influence of Bacillus Pasteurii on the nucleation and growth of Calcium Carbonate. Geomicrobiology Journal , 23, 213-226.
  3. Mitchell, AC. and Ferris, FG. 2006. Effect of Strontium on the Size and Solubility of Calcite Crystals precipitated by Bacterial Ureolysis. Environmental Science and Technology, 40, 1008-1014.

2005

  1. Mitchell, AC. and Ferris FG. 2005. The Co-Precipitation of Sr into Calcite Precipitates Induced by Bacterial Ureolysis in Artificial Groundwater – Temperature and Kinetic Dependence. Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta, 69, 4199-4210.