Professor Craig Cary


Qualifications: BSc Florida Institute of Technology, MSc San Diego State, PhD University of California

About Craig

From the depths of the world's most uninhabitable oceans, to the soils of Antarctica and New Zealand's lakes, rivers and beaches, Professor Craig Cary is a researcher with a wide range of credits to his name. Despite the varied locations of his research, the focus has remained the same since his passion for science began as a tertiary student in Southern California.

Dr Cary considers himself a Microbial Ecologist and his interest lies in researching bacteria which live in extreme environments. Such environments include deep sea thermal vents and the soils of Antarctica. He is interested in learning how bacteria in these environments establish themselves, maintain life, and evolve as communities. He is also concerned with how the bacteria are different or similar to bacteria living in other extreme environments. Read Prof Craig Cary's full profile here.

Research Interests

Comparative physiology, biochemistry and ecology of microbial communities, with a focus on free-living syntrophic bacterial associations in extreme environments including hydrothermal vents and Antarctic soils. The use of high through-put genomic and molecular approaches to resolve biochemical adaptations to life in these extreme geochemical environments. Interfacing new bioinformatic capabilities with genomic technologies in the metagenome analysis of complex microbial communities. Thermal stability of eurythermal proteins.

Research Supervised


  • Brandt, Shelly (in progress). The effects of ocean acidification on microbial nutrient cycling and productivity in coastal marine sediments.
  • Monteiro, Maria (in progress). Microbial nutrification in Antarctic Dry Valleys
  • Power, Jean (in progress). Biodiversity and biogeography of extremophiles in The Taupo Volcanic Zone.
  • Beet, Clare (in progress). Exploring the potential genetic responses of Antarctic springtails (Collembola) to increased temperatures
  • Archer, Stephen (2015). Geochemical, spatial, and temporal drivers of microbial community heterogeneity in the Meltwater Ponds of Antarctica.
  • Salvitti, Lauren (2015). Elucidating the origin of tetrodotoxin in Pleurobranchaea maculata and Stylochoplana sp.
  • Bottos, Eric (2014). Resolving drivers of microbial community structure in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica.
  • Burgess-Jones, Tracey (2013). Population genetics and photobiont selectivity in Antarctic lichens.
  • Smith, Kirsty (2012). Use of genetic methods for determining patterns and processes during marine biological invasions.

MSc (Research)

  • Currie, Ashleigh (in progress). 
  • Begman, Nauvoo (in progress).
  • Anderson, Rachelle (2017). Microbial response to environmental changes in Antarctic Dry Valley soils.
  • Lowe, Caitlin (2017). Temporal dynamics of microbial communities in geothermal hot springs of The Taupo Volcanic Zone.
  • Khor, Serena (2014). Investigating diet as the source of tetrodotoxin in the grey side-gilled sea slug, Pleurobranchaea maculata.


  • Scarrow, Joshua (2013). Soil chronosequences and bacterial communities of the Central Transantarctic Mountains, Antarctica.
  • Vickers Chelsea (2012). Investigating the physiological and metabolic requirements of the Tramway Ridge Microbial Community, Mt Erebus, Antarctica.
  • Archer, Stephen (2011). Characterization of the bacterioplankton communities in the melt-water ponds of Bratina Island, Victoria Land, Antarctica.
  • Richter, Ingrid (2011). Influences of soil properties on archaeal diversity and distribution in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica.
  • Barbier, Beatrice (2009). Investigating the biodiversity of microbial communities in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica: An Inter-valley comparison study.
  • O'Rorke, Richard (2009). Correlations between a cyanobacteria bloom's decline and environmental dynamics.
  • Soo, Rochelle (2007). Microbial biodiversity of thermophilic communities in hot mineral soils of Tramway Ridge, Mt Erebus, Antarctica.

Teaching Commitments


Microbial Ecology

Recent Publications

  • Noell, S. E., Baptista, M. S., Smith, E., McDonald, I. R., Lee, C. K., Stott, M. B., . . . Cary, S. C. (2022). Unique geothermal chemistry shapes microbial communities on Mt. Erebus, Antarctica. Frontiers in Microbiology, 13. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2022.836943

  • Monteiro, M. R., Marshall, A. J., Hawes, I., Lee, C. K., McDonald, I. R., & Cary, S. C. (2022). Geochemically defined space-for-time transects successfully capture microbial dynamics along Lacustrine chronosequences in a Polar desert. Frontiers in Microbiology, 12. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2021.783767 Open Access version:

  • de Jesus, H. E., Carreira, R. S., Paiva, S. S. M., Massone, C., Enrich-Prast, A., Peixoto, R. S., . . . Rosado, A. S. (2021). Microbial succession under freeze–thaw events and its potential for hydrocarbon degradation in nutrient-amended antarctic soil. Microorganisms, 9(3), 1-16. doi:10.3390/microorganisms9030609

  • Currie, A. A., Marshall, A. J., Lohrer, A. M., Cummings, V. J., Seabrook, S., & Cary, S. C. (2021). Sea Ice Dynamics Drive Benthic Microbial Communities in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Frontiers in Microbiology, 12. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2021.745915

View All research publications by Craig Cary

Contact Details

Room: TRU.G.23
Phone: +64 7 838 4593