Elizabeth Swanner

Assistant Professor [GE AT]


Dept:Geological And Atmospheric Sciences
Office:354 Science
2237 Osborn Dr.
Ames IA
Links: Website


Education Ph.D. Geology, University of Colorado, Boulder, 2011 A.B. Biochemistry, Mount Holyoke College, 2003 Research Interests My research investigates the geochemical imprint of microbial life on the Earth's surface environment through geological time by studying modern microbial metabolisms and the behavior of metals and minerals under varying aqueous redox regimes. A major focus of my work is understanding the impact of ferruginous conditions on regulating microbial activity and biogeochemical cycling. Swanner Research Group Website: Geobiology Google Scholar Profile Current Research
  • Biogeochemistry of permanently stratified (“meromictic”), ferruginous lakes in the upper Midwest
  • The role of metal micronutrients (e.g. iron) in enhancing Harmful Algal Blooms
  • Fluorometric methods for tracking algal composition of Harmful Algal Blooms
  • Using iron isotopes and iron mineralogy of Precambrian carbonates as proxies for iron and oxygen concentrations of co-eval seawater
  • Experimental and microbial diagenesis to reconstruct the origins for Banded Iron Formation mineralogy, element inventory, and isotopic (bio)signatures
  • The role of photosynthetic organisms in deposition of Banded Iron Formations
  • Fate of metals during diagenetic pyrite formation
Current Research Grants
  • National Science Foundation, “Collaborative Research: Biosignatures of coupled iron and carbon cycling in ferruginous lakes.” PI: E Swanner, Co-PI: C Wittkop & S Katsev, May 2017-April 2019.
  • Huron Mountain Wildlife Foundation, “Constraining pathways of methane, nutrient, and iron cycling in ferruginous Canyon Lake.” PIs: E Swanner, C Wittkop, & S Katsev. 2016 & 2017.
  • Iowa Water Center, “The role of iron mobility from anoxic sediments in stimulating harmful algal blooms.” PI: E Swanner, August 2016-July 2018.
  • MICRO 487/587: Microbial Ecology (F 2017)
  • GEOL 419/519: Aqueous and Environmental Geochemistry (S 2018)
  • ENSCI 483/583: Biogeochemistry (S 2019; co-taught with Prof. Steven Hall)
Publications *Denotes student or postdoc author supervised by Swanner

*Wu W, Swanner ED, Kleinhanns IC, Schoenberg R, Pan Y and A Kappler. "Fe isotope fractionation during Fe(II) oxidation by the marine photoferrotroph Rhodovulum iodosum in the presence os Si - implications for Precambrian iron formation deposition." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, in press.

Swanner ED, *Bayer T, *Wu W, Hao L, Obst M, Sundman A, Byrne JM, Michel FM, Kappler A, and R Schoenberg. "Iron isotope fractionation during Fe(II) oxidation mediated by the oxygen-producing marine cyanobacterium Synechococcus PCC 7002." (2017) Environmental Science & Technology.

*Maisch, M, Wu, W, Kappler, A and ED Swanner. "Laboratory simulation of an iron(II)-rich Precambrian marine upwelling system to explore the growth of photosynthetic bacteria." (2016) Journal of Visualized Experiments, 113:e54251.

*Halama M, Swanner ED, Konhauser KO, and A Kappler. "Evaluation of siderite and magnetite formation in BIFs by pressure-temperature experiments of Fe(III) minerals and microbial biomass." (2016) Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 450:243-253.

Hao L, Guo Y, Byrne JM, Zeitvogel F, Schmid G, Ingino P, Li J, Neu TR, Swanner ED, Kappler A, and M Obst. "Binding of heavy metal ions in aggregates of microbial cells, EPS and biogenic iron minerals measured in-situ using metal- and glycoconjugates-specific fluorophores." (2016) Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 180:66-96.

Swanner ED, Wu W, Hao L, *Wuestner ML, Obst M, Moran DM, McIlvin M, Saito M and A Kappler. "Physiology, Fe(II) oxidation, and Fe mineral formation by a marine planktonic cyanobacterium grown under ferruginous conditions." (2015) Frontiers in Earth Science, 3.

Swanner ED, *Wu W, Schoenberg R, Byrne J, Michel FM, Pan Y and A Kappler. "Fractionation of Fe isotopes during Fe(II) oxidation by a marine photoferrotroph is controlled by the formation of organic Fe-complexes and colloidal Fe fractions." (2015) Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 165:44-61.

*Robbins LJ, Swanner ED, Lalonde SV, Eickhoff M, Paranich ML, Reinhard CT, Peacock CL, Kappler A and KO Konhauser. "Limited Zn and Ni mobility during simulated Iron Formation diageneis." (2015) Chemical Geology, 402:30-39.

Swanner ED, Mloszewska AM, Cirpka OA, Schoenberg R, Konhauser KO and A Kappler. “Modulation of oxygen production in Archaean oceans by episodes of Fe(II) toxicity.” (2015) Nature Geoscience. 8(2):126-130.

Melton ED, Swanner ED, Behrens S, Schmidt C and A Kappler. “The Interplay of Microbially Mediated and Abiotic Reactions in the Biogeochemical Fe Cycle.” (2014) Nature Reviews Microbiology. 12:797-808.

*Wu W., Swanner ED, Hao L, Zeitvogel F, Obst M, Pan Y and A Kappler. “Characterization of the physiology and cell-mineral interactions of the marine anoxygenic phototrophic Fe(II)-oxidizer Rhodovulum iodosum - implications for Precambrian Fe(II) oxidation.” (2014) FEMS Microbiology Ecology. 88:503-515.

Swanner ED, Planavsky NP, Lalonde SV, Robbins LJ, Bekker A, Rouxel OJ, Kappler A, Mojzsis SJ and KO Konhauser. “Cobalt and marine redox evolution.” (2014) Earth & Planetary Science Letters. 390:253-263.

Swanner ED, Cates N, Pecoits E, Bekker A, Konhauser KO and SJ Mojzsis. “Geochemistry of pyrite from diamictites of the Boolgeeda Iron Formation, Western Australia with implications for the GOE and Paleoproterozoic ice ages.” (2013) Chemical Geology. 362:131-142.

Posth NR, Köhler I, Swanner ED, Schröder C, Wellman E, Binder B, Konhauser KO, Neumann U, Berthold C, Nowak M and A Kappler. “Simulating Precambrian banded iron formation diagenesis.” (2013) Chemical Geology. 362:66-73.

Swanner ED and AS Templeton. “Potential for nitrogen fixation and nitrification in the granite-hosted subsurface at Henderson Mine, CO.” (2011) Frontiers in Extreme Microbiology. 2, doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2011.00254.

Swanner ED, Nell RM, and AS Templeton. “Ralstonia species mediate Fe-oxidation in circumneutral, metal-rich subsurface fluids of Henderson Mine, CO.” (2011) Chemical Geology. 284: 339-350.

Benardini J, Vaishampayan P, Schwendner P, Swanner E, Fukui Y, Osman S, Satomi M and K Venkateswaran. “Paenibacillus phoenicis sp. nov. a spore forming bacterium isolated from the Phoenix Lander assembly facility.” (2010) Int. J. Syst. Env. Microbiol. 61(6):1338-43.

Mayhew LE, Swanner ED, Templeton AS, Martin AP. (2008) "Phylogenetic relationships and functional genes: distribution of a manganese-oxidizing gene (mnxG) in Bacillus species." Applied & Environmental Microbiology. 74(23): 7265-7271.

Sahl JW, Schmidt R, Swanner ED, Mandernack KW, Templeton AS, Kieft TL, Smith RL, Sanford WE, Callaghan RL, Mitton JB, Spear JR. (2008) "Subsurface Microbial Diversity in Deep-Granitic-Fracture Water in Colorado." Applied & Environmental Microbiology. 74(1): 143-152.