Sean Langley

Geomicrobiologist / Geochemist

Current research and/or projects


My interest in geomicrobiology began with an undergraduate research project on metal binding and mineral precipitation by cyanobacteria. Since then, I have had the opportunity to study microbe-mineral interactions in some very diverse environments including mine tailings, wetlands, and even deep-sea hydrothermal vent fields. It is still fascinating to me that organisms so small can impact our environment and planet in profound ways. My research goals now include the use of microbial processes to improve metal extraction and minimize the environmental impacts of mining activities.

Research and/or project statements

Current Research Projects:

  • Microbial community analysis in acidic, base metal mine tailings.
  • Anaerobic bioreactors for treatment of mine effluent.
  • Reclamation of mine tailings using organic covers.

Professional activities / interests


Suzanne Beauchemin, Bryan Tisch, Rory Cameron, Carrie Rickwood, Philippa Huntsman-Mapila (canmetMINING).


  • Microbial controls on mineralogy and geochemistry in aqueous environments.
  • The use of microbial systems for the removal of metals and other compounds from natural and industrial waters.
  • Molecular biology and genetics of microbes associated with mine tailings and acid mine drainage.

Work with students:

  • Have supervised students in the past.
  • Always interested in collaborating with the academic community.

Education and awards


  • B.Sc. Microbiology, University of Guelph.
  • M.Sc. Microbiology, University of Guelph.
  • Ph.D. Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa.


  • NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarship (2004-2006).
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2006-2007).
  • National Excellence Scholarship, University of Ottawa (2004-2008).


Key publications

  1. Gault, A.G., Langley, S., Ibrahim, A., Renaud, R., Takahashi, Y., Boothman, C., Lloyd, J.R., Clark, I.D., Ferris, F.G., and Fortin, D. 2012. Seasonal changes in mineralogy, geochemistry and microbial community of bacteriogenic iron oxides (BIOS) deposited in a circumneutral wetland. Geomicrobiol. J. 29:161-172.

  2. Langley, S., Gault, A.G., Ibrahim, A., Takahashi, Y., Renaud, R., Fortin, D., Clark, I.D., and Ferris, F.G. 2009. Sorption of strontium onto bacteriogenic iron oxides. Environ. Sci. Technol. 43:1008-1014.

  3. Langley, S., Igric, P., Takahashi, Y., Sakai, Y., Fortin, D., Hannington, M.D., and Schwarz-Schampera, U. 2009. Preliminary characterization and biological reduction of putative biogenic iron oxides (BIOS) from the Tonga-Kermadec Arc, southwest Pacific Ocean. Geobiology. 7:35-49.

  4. Oremland, R.S., Herbel, M.J., Switzer Blum, J., Langley, S., Beveridge, T.J., Ajayan, P.M., Sutto, T., Ellis, A.V., and Curran, S. 2004. Structural and spectral features of selenium nanospheres produced by Se-respiring bacteria. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 70:52-60.

  5. Glasauer, S., Langley, S., and Beveridge, T.J. 2002. Intracellular iron minerals in a dissimilatory iron-reducing bacterium. Science. 295:117-119.

  6. Langley, S., and Beveridge, T.J. 1999. Effect of O-side-chain lipopolysaccharide chemistry on metal binding. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 65:489-498.