Dr. Eric Boyd

Associate Director- TBI
Assistant Professor
Environmental Microbiology

Department of Chemistry
and Biochemistry
631 Leon Johnson Hall
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717



Biodiversity is a consequence of the myriad interactions between life and its geochemical environment that have played out over geological time.  The interaction between cellular life and its environment is mediated by highly specialized biomolecules that function in conserving energy, maintaining cytoplasmic homeostasis, and driving biochemical synthesis.  The genomic variation of today’s biology provides a data-rich record of the historical environmental and interspecies interactions that underpin the emergence of biomolecules and which shaped their evolutionary history.  By combining molecular biological and geochemical analyses through the lens of evolutionary biology, we take advantage of variation within the present - the distribution of metabolic strategies in different geological and geochemical environments - to recognize the extent of diversity and the reasons that it exists.  

Our research carefully integrates laboratory- and field-based studies through application of contemporary microbial physiology and next generation sequencing, geochemical, bioinformatics and isotopic techniques.  Application of these techniques to microbial communities that inhabit a range of environment types, including those in the geothermal springs of Yellowstone National Park and Tengchong, China, the Great Salt Lake and Lake Powell, and a variety of Arctic subglacial environments, provides unique new perspective on biodiversity and the reasons that it exists.  Through such studies we gain new insights that can be leveraged for biotechnological applications and we provide rich field field- based learning experiences for the high school, undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral scholars that form the core of our research group.