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Oliver is currently working in the LoAir project focusing on the intriguing metabolism of atmospheric methane-oxidizing bacteria (atMOB). Atmospheric concentrations of the potent greenhouse gas methane increased since the industrial revolution in the 18th century from 0.7 ppm to 1.9 ppm today. However, methane is still emitted in large quantities by natural and anthropogenic processes and its atmospheric concentrations are predicted to increase further (to 2.5 ppm towards the end of the 21st century) if the efforts to limit methane emissions are not intensified. atMOBs are an important sink for atmospheric methane globally and to study the metabolic responses of these microbes to changes in atmospheric methane concentrations is of utmost importance for predicting future climate change. Oliver designed an experimental setup to cultivate Methylocapsa gorgona MG08, a model atMOB, at different methane concentrations resembling past, present and future predicted atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gas. In order to characterize the metabolic adaption of M. gorogna to contrasting substrate availabilities he combines analytical (gas chromatography), molecular (nucleic acid and protein quantitation, proteomics), and microscopic techniques.
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