Soap Lake Microbial Observatory - People

From left to right: Dr. Melanie Mormile (UMR), Dr. Brent Peyton (WSU), Dr. Holly Pinkart (CWU), Victor Alva (WSU), Alex Storrie-Lomardi, Dr. Michael Storrie-Lombardi (JPL), Dwight Hoy (Soap Lake Conservancy), and John Glassco (Soap Lake Conservancy)

This photo was taken in August 2002 following the Saline Lakes Science Conference. This is the southeastern side of the lake. Calcium carbonate crusts can be seen at the feet of the folks in the picture as well as along the shore in the background. We are  holding chunks of this crust, which is extensively colonized by microorganisms along this stretch of the lake.

PIs and  Senior Personnel

Melanie Mormile, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri-Rolla, is a microbiologist  whose research interests include applied environmental microbiology, and the study of extreme halophiles. Dr. Mormile is a Co-PI on this grant.

Brent Peyton, an associate professor at Washington State University, is a chemical engineer and associate director of the NSF-funded Center for Multiphase Environmental Research. His research interests include bioremediation and biological processes in extreme environments. Dr. Peyton is a Co-PI on this grant. Victor Alva is one of his graduate students.

Holly Pinkart, an assistant professor at Central Washington University, is a microbial ecologist and director of the water quality laboratory.  Her research interests include the ecology and physiology microorganisms that inhabit extreme environments and bioremediation. Dr. Pinkart is the PI of this grant.

Michael Storrie-Lombardi is an astrobiologist who specializes in the remote detection of biological signatures. After many years of employment at JPL, Dr. Storrie-Lombardi has started his own research company. He is currently a senior scientist on this grant.

Anthony Gabriel, an assistant professor at CWU,  is a geographer and limnologist. His research interests include conservation of wetlands and coastal shorelines. He and Leo Bodensteiner (Huxley College of the Environment, Western Washington University) are responsible for the limnology aspects of this grant.

David Hosford, a professor at CWU, is a mycologist who is interested in haloalkaliphilic fungi.


Dwight Hoy and John Glassco are members of the Soap Lake Conservancy. Dwight is a retired marine biologist with extensive knowledge of the history of Soap Lake. John is an environmental engineer who is chair of the Science Advisory Board for the conservancy. While neither are active participants on the grant, they have provided valuable background history of the lake and are incredibly supportive of our efforts! The Conservancy donated the use of its boat during collection of preliminary data, and John's Glassco's business has provided free storage of the new sampling vessel purchased with NSF funds for this project. Thanks John!