Jayme Feyhl-Buska


E-mail: jfeyhlbuska@gmail.com

Address: University of Southern California, Department of Earth Sciences

825 Bloom Walk, ACB 302

Los Angeles, California 90089-0740



Novel Microbes from Icelandic Subglacial Lakes

I seek to enrich, isolate, and characterize novel microbes from the volcanically-heated Skaftárkatlar subglacial lakes. Specifically, I am focused on characterizing sulfur oxidizers, with the intent of linking my fully characterized microbes back into the geochemical cycles and microbial community of the lakes. This will provide a better understanding of the microbial ecology of these difficult-to-access systems, and clarify the mechanisms by which life survives in the cold, dark, and nutrient-limited lakes.


Microbial Catabolism in the Deep Continental Subsurface

The continental deep subsurface contains much of the Earth’s biomass, but little is known about what the microbes living there are actively doing to survive. I study microbial activity at the Sanford Underground Research Facility by combining metagenomics and metatranscriptomics and assessing potential and actively expressed microbial metabolisms. I also couple energetic calculations and nanocalorimetry to assess which electron donors and acceptors are thermodynamically favorable in this system and which are actively being used by microbes. Understanding microbial catabolism and usage of redox species helps to determine the microbial role in biogeochemical cycling in the continental subsurface.



University of Southern California, Ph.D. in Earth Sciences, NOW


Summa Cum Laude, Montana State University, Bozeman, B.S. in Biological Sciences, Minors in Astrobiology and Microbiology  2014

2010 - present



  • Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Southern California (2015-)

Advisor: Dr. Jan Amend

Enrichment, isolation, and characterization of novel species from a volcanic subglacial lake, and investigating microbial metabolic activity and usage of redox species in the continental deep subsurface


  • Lab Manager and Research Associate, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Montana State University (2014-2015)

Advisor: Dr. Eric Boyd

Characterizing the properties of a novel acidophilic sulfate-reducing bacterium, and assessing the genetic similarities between communities of planktonic and sediment-associated microbes in Yellowstone hot springs


  • REU in Environmental Microbiology, Tengchong PIRE Program, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the Key State Laboratory of Marine Geology at Tongji University in Shanghai, China (2014)

Advisors: Dr. Chuanlun Zhang and Dr. Eric Boyd

E0ffects of growth phase and sub-optimal environmental conditions of the lipid membrane composition of the hyperacidophile Picrophilus torridus


  • Undergraduate Research Assistant, Department of Microbiology and Immunology and the Department of Chemistry andBiochemistry, Montana State University (2013-2014)

Advisors: Dr. Eric Boyd and Dr. John Peters

Assessing the role of microorganisms in the geochemical stratification of a seasonally stratified high mountain lake.


  • Undergraduate Research Assistant, Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, Montana State University (2012-2013)

Advisor: Dr. Gary Strobel

Examining the potential of a variety of novel endophytic species for use in biotechnological and pharmaceutical applications and fuel-production


  • Undergraduate Research Assistant,Department of Ecology, Montana State University  (2012-2013)

Mentored by Dr. Andrea Litt

Determining the breadth of research concerning the impacts of herbivory and climate
change on the Northern Great Plains

2010 - present



  • Graduate Teaching Assistant, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Southern California 

Oceanography (GEOL107)  (2016 Fall)

Earth History (GEOL 125)  (2016 Spring)

Introduction to Geosystems (GEOL160) (2015 Fall)





  • Merino, N, Aronson, H.S., Bojanova, D.P, Feyhl-Buska, J., Zhang, S, Giovannelli, D. (2019) Living at the extremes: extremophiles and the limits of life in a planetary context. Frontiers in Microbiology (LINK)

  • Feyhl-Buska, J.., Chen Y., Jia C., Wang J-X., Zhang C.L. and Boyd E.S. (2016). Influence of Growth Phase, pH, and Temperature on the Abundance and Composition of Tetraether Lipids in the Thermoacidophile Picrophilus torridus. Front. Microbiol. 7:1323. (LINK)

  • Colman, D.R., Feyhl-Buska, J., Robinson, K.J., Fecteau, K.M., Xu, H., Shock, E.L., Boyd, E.S. (2016). Ecological differentiation in planktonic and sediment-associated chemotropic microbial populations in Yellowstone hot springs. FEMS Microbiol Ecol., 92, 2016, fiw137. (LINK)

    • Awarded Editor’s Choice article for Issue 92.9 of FEMS Microbiology Ecology

  • Parker, S.R., West, R.F., Boyd, E.S., Feyhl-Buska, J., Gammons, C.H., Johnston, T.B., Williams, G.P., Poulson, S.R. (2016). Biogeochemical and microbial seasonal dynamics between water column and sediment processes in a productive mountain lake: Georgetown Lake, MT, USA. J. Geophys. Res. Biogeosci., 121, 2064–2081. (LINK)




  • Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Fellowship, National Science Foundation (2017-2020)

  • Teaching Award, USC Department of Earth Sciences (2016)

  • Provost Fellowship, Department of Earth Sciences at USC (2015-2020)

  • Turner Foundation Award for Thermal Biology Research (2014)

  • Undergraduate Scholars Program Research Grant (2013)

  • Institute on Ecosystems Research Grant (2012)




  • Python Workshop, Taught by Elaina Graham at USC (2017)

  • ECOGEO Bioinformatics Workshop, Taught by Dr. Benjamin Tully at USC (2017)

  • International Geobiology Course, Directed by Drs. Frank Corsetti and John Spear (2017)

  • Practical Workshop on Chemostat Operation, Taught by Dr. J. Gijs Kuenen at USC (2016)




  • Mentored Emilie Skoog, a USC SOAR undergraduate, on lab techniques in geomicrobiology and preparation for graduate school (2016-2017)

  • Trained undergraduates in basic lab techniques, provided them with projects of their own, or guided them as they assisted with pre-existing studies (2015)

  • Taught English and basic scientific writing to Chinese graduate and undergraduate students at Tongji University in Shanghai, China. (2014)

  • Mentored a Chinese high school student in lipid extraction procedures and basic lab techniques while attending an REU at Tongji University in Shanghai, China. (2014)

  • Mentored Native American high school students on projects examining the microbial communities of agricultural soil horizons through MAP (Montana Apprenticeship Program). (2013)




  • Jayme Feyhl-Buska, (2017). Enriching and Isolating New Species from a Subglacial Volcanic Lake, and Assessing Microbial Catabolism in the Continental Subsurface. Department of Earth Sciences Poster Symposium, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.

  • Jayme Feyhl-Buska, Emilie Skoog, Annette R. Rowe, Eric J. Gaidos, Mark L., Skidmore, Jan P. Amend (2017). Enrichment and isolation of sulfur oxidizing bacteria from volcanic lakes beneath the Vatnajökull ice cap, Iceland, Southern California Geobiology Symposium, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.

  • Jayme Feyhl-Buska, Annette R. Rowe, Eric J. Gaidos,  Mark L. Skidmore, Verena Heuer, Jan P. Amend (2016). Targeted cultivation of chemolithotrophs from volcanic lakes beneath the Vatnajökull ice cap, Iceland. Southern California Geobiology Symposium, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA

  • Jayme Feyhl-Buska, John Dore, Steve Parker, Chris Gammons, Trinity Hamilton, and Eric Boyd (2014). Physical and geochemical controls on the assembly of a water column community in Georgetown Lake, Montana. Undergraduate Research Conference, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT. (Also presented at MSU Microbiology Department Retreat)



  • Jayme Feyhl-Buska, (2017). Targeted enrichment and isolation of bacteria from the Skaftárkatlar Lakes. Symposium on Vatnajökull Subglacial Lake Research, Icelandic Meteorological Institute, Reykjavik, Iceland.

  • Jayme Feyhl-Buska, (2016). Chemolithotroph cultivation from an Icelandic subglacial lake. NASA Astrobiology Institute Life Underground All-Hands Meeting, Catalina Island, CA.

  • Fernando Medina Ferrer, Jayme Feyhl-Buska, Fredrik Sønderholm, and Virginia Russell, (2016). Assessing the Potential of Tufas as Biosignatures. International Geobiology Course, Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, Los Angeles, CA.

  • Jayme Feyhl-Buska, (2014) Deciphering the role of microorganisms in the geochemical stratification of Georgetown Lake, Montana. Montana State University Honors Thesis Research Symposium, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT.

  • Jayme Feyhl-Buska and Andrea Litt, (2012). A review of research relating to herbivory and climate change in the Northern Great Plains Region. Montana Institute on Ecosystems Undergraduate Research Symposium, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT.