Bonnie Baxter

Director of Great Salt Lake Institute

Westminster College


Baxter has spent more than two decades studying the microorganisms of Great Salt Lake where salinity is the primary driver of microbial diversity. Her surveys the lake’s microbiota reveal secrets to life salt-saturation and impacts of dilution in this system. Specific areas of interest include DNA damage and repair in halophilic archaea, microbialite biodiversity, and the preservation of halophilic microorganisms and their molecules over geologic time. The latter has intriguing astrobiology implications regarding bio-signatures that may remain on Mars from past salty life. She co-founded the Great Salt Lake Institute at Westminster College to facilitate research on the lake and provide outreach opportunities for science education





Why We Care

  • Great Salt Lake is a place where nothing is as it appears. It is a landscape of the imagination, where anything is possible.

    Terry Tempest Williams, FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake Advisory Board