Agustín F. Solano Arguedas

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Email: agustin.solano@ucr.ac.cr
Phone: (+506) 2511-4913
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Geomicrobiology, biogeochemistry, Critical Zone and forest dynamics of tropical environments

Invited Lecturer in Geomicrobiology and Biogeochemistry

PhD in Environmental Geochemistry and Geomicrobiology – The University of Manchester – 2019 (Prof. Jonathan Lloyd)
MSc in Chemistry – Universidad de Costa Rica – 2016 (Prof. Mavis Montero)
BSc in Biology Universidad de Costa Rica – 2014
BSc in Chemistry – Universidad de Costa Rica – 2013

Elements, minerals, and microorganisms, what can they tell us about tropical forests and Earth’s critical zone?

I am a geomicrobiologist interested in multidisciplinary research to understand the close interactions between metals, microorganisms, and the environment. I have been moving between disciplines since my undergrad days studying chemistry and biology. Later, my masters project involved work in research centres of chemistry (CELEQ), biology (CIEMIC) and microbiology (Clodomiro Picado Institute). But something else was missing… geology! And that was when I discovered geomicrobiology and decided to move to Manchester, UK, to start a PhD in the Geomicro Group, supervised by Prof. Jon Lloyd.

In my PhD project, I encompassed all those disciplines I was passionate for while studiyng the biogeochemical cycling of Fe, Co, Ni and Mn in the serpentine soils from the Peninsula of Santa Elena in Costa Rica. My project was part of an even bigger multidisciplinary group: the CoG3 consortium. Here we aimed to promote a greater understanding of the distribution and behaviour of cobalt in natural systems across the world, including a geomicrobiological component. In CoG3 I had the chance to work alongside great institutions such as the Natural History Museum in London, and synchrotron facilities like Diamond Light Source (DLS) in the UK and Advance Light Source (ALS) in California, USA. And to enlarge my multidisciplinary experience, I even ended up presenting my work over three consecutive years in Goldschmidt, the foremost annual, international conference on geochemistry!

Nowadays, my research interests include the geomicrobiology and the biogeochemistry of the Critical Zone of tropical environments, considering the impact of biotic/abiotic factors from the micro to large scale, and with a multidisciplinary approach including geochemistry, environmental microbiology and forest dynamics. I have a special interest in the geomicrobiological processes and the biogeochemical cycling of metals underpinning the fascinating Costa Rican tropical ecosystems, like those occurring in the serpentine soils of the Peninsula of Santa Elena (that I am still exploring!).

I am a lecturer in the School of Chemistry. I teach Geomicrobiology, Biogeochemistry and Inorganic Geochemistry to undergraduate and postgraduate students, motivating them to link the inorganic chemistry to other disciplines to better understand Earth’s bigger picture. My research work is based in the Forest Resources Unit (Reforesta, Unidad de Recursos Forestales) of the Engineering Research Institute (INII, Instituto de Investigaciones en Ingeniería). Also, in Reforesta I collaborate with the Research Programme in Forest Resources, and with the Laboratory of Cellulose and Paper.

Currently, I am member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (AMRSC), of the European Association of Geochemistry and of The Mineralogical Society of Great Britain & Ireland. Since 2020 I am also the ISME (International Society of Microbial Ecology) Young Ambassador for Costa Rica, aiming to promote and strengthen microbial ecology in the country and in the Latin American region.

If you are interested in research collaboration or looking for a postgraduate thesis project in Costa Rica, please do get in touch. Happy to discuss research ideas in any of the above topics and why not, to learn about new disciplines!

Recent Publications

Newsome, L., Solano Arguedas, A., Coker, V. S., Boothman, C., & Lloyd, J. R. (2020). Manganese and cobalt redox cycling in laterites; Biogeochemical and bioprocessing implications. Chemical Geology, 531, 119330. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo. 2019.119330

Solano-Arguedas, A. F., Boothman, C., Newsome, L., Pattrick, R. A. D., Arguedas-Quesada, D., Robinson, C.H., & Lloyd, J.R. (in prep.). Geochemistry and microbiology of tropical serpentine soils in the Santa Elena Ophiolite, a landscape-biogeography approach.

Solano-Arguedas, A. F., Newsome, L., Boothman, C., & Lloyd, J. R. (in prep.). Microbially-mediated iron and magnesium cycling in serpentine soils and their relationship with carbonate biomineralisation and methanogenesis.

Solano-Arguedas, A. F., Newsome, L., Boothman, C., & Lloyd, J. R. (in prep.). Cobalt, nickel and manganese cycling coupled to microbial cellulose degradation in serpentine soils under seasonal variations.

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