This volume includes a compilation of my research activities and publications from 1988 till present, including over 80 journal articles and book chapters in the field of Microbiology. My research focus as a microbiologist has been and still is diverse, as revealed below and I believe this diversity has brought to me much interest, challenge and enjoyment in my career. The research that I have performed has perhaps brought to light parts of nature that might be normally considered either hidden, obscure or simply inaccessible. I have always been interested in exploration, characterisation and description rather than more purely quantitative, mechanistic scientific endeavours but I hope that it can be perceived that an increase in the 'sophistication' of my research has occurred over time. In the end the sense of discovery is what I think most people in the sciences look for in their careers and I have been fortunate to have this opportunity in mine. Of course, all of my research has not been done in isolation and I heartily acknowledge the many colleagues that have contributed to the research and offered their friendship throughout my microbiology career. I have endeavoured to indicate their involvement below in the various sections. I would particularly acknowledge two people who I believe were instrumental in the formation of my career: Professors Lindsay Sly and Tom McMeekin. Both I consider the best of mentors, providing support and guidance to keep me focussed and most importantly, a sense of freedom. Unless it is indicated otherwise the papers indicated below were written by myself and the majority of data indicated was also generated by myself or PhD students under my direct supervision.