Jennifer A. Roberts

Associate Chairperson
Associate Professor
Primary office:
104 Lindley Hall


Microbial geochemist who bridges basic and applied science focusing on the role of microorganisms on mineral chemistry and weathering as it applies to carbon sequestration, petroleum reservoir diagenesis, paleoclimate, and water quality from the nano- to landscape scales.


I teach introductory Geology in addition to upper division and graduate courses in Geomicrobiology.


My research aims to understand the interplay between microbial activity, mineral chemistry and mineral weathering reactions in subsurface, aqueous environments.  I am a microbial geochemist with a particular interest in how microorganisms interact with their mineral environment, and how specific mineral chemistry can influence microbial ecology, metabolism, growth and feedbacks to mineral dissolution and precipitation reactions.  These are fundamental processes in many microbially-active aqueous environments and have implications for a broad range of energy and water resource issues.

My broad research goals are:

  • Elucidate the mechanisms by which microorganisms impact precipitation of carbonate minerals in a variety of subsurface conditions ranging from freshwater to shallow marine to deep brine; 
  • Investigate the linkages between mineralogy and microbial ecology and function in subsurface, aqueous environments including tropical soils and permafrost.
  • Demonstrate the fundamental role of bacteria on mineral equilibria in soils and sediments and the environmental and ecological consequences of these processes.

My current projects include:

  • Microbial Influences on Carbonate Mineral Precipitation
  • Microbially Influences on CO2 Storage and Seal Integrity in Deep Saline Aquifers
  • Biogeophysics: A window into subsurface bioclogging
  • Methanotrophy, Mineral Weathering and Mediation of Methane Flux
  • Microbial participation in silicate weathering and secondary mineral precipitation in acidic hydrothermal environments 

Internationally recognized programs
Millions in grants and contracts for research
Generous financial support for students
Research projects that stretch to Antarctica, Greenland, and numerous points in between
Birthplace and home of Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology
A thriving field program that sends undergraduate and graduate students throughout the world
Industry recruiters who visit annually to hire KU Geology's graduating students
A top-ranked hydrogeology program
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
KU Today