Navigation Links
Hard rock life
Date:12/9/2013

Scientists are digging deep into the Earth's surface collecting census data on the microbial denizens of the hardened rocks. What they're finding is that, even miles deep and halfway across the globe, many of these communities are somehow quite similar.

The results, which were presented at the American Geophysical Union conference Dec. 8, suggest that these communities may be connected, said Matthew Schrenk, Michigan State University geomicrobiologist.

"Two years ago we had a scant idea about what microbes are present in subsurface rocks or what they eat," he said. "We're now getting this emerging picture not only of what sort of organisms are found in these systems but some consistency between sites globally we're seeing the same types of organisms everywhere we look."

Schrenk leads a team funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Deep Carbon Observatory studying samples from deep underground in California, Finland and from mine shafts in South Africa. The scientists also collect microbes from the deepest hydrothermal vents in the Caribbean Ocean.

"It's easy to understand how birds or fish might be similar oceans apart," Schrenk said. "But it challenges the imagination to think of nearly identical microbes 16,000 kilometers apart from each other in the cracks of hard rock at extreme depths, pressures and temperatures."

Cataloging and exploring this region, a relatively unknown biome, could lead to breakthroughs in offsetting climate change, the discovery of new enzymes and processes that may be useful for biofuel and biotechnology research, he added.

For example, Schrenk's future efforts will focus on unlocking answers to what carbon sources the microbes use, how they cope in such extreme conditions as well as how their enzymes evolved to function so deep underground.

"Integrating this region into existing models of global biogeochemistry and gaining better understanding into how deep rock-hosted organisms contribute or mitigate greenhouse gases could help us unlock puzzles surrounding modern-day Earth, ancient Earth and even other planets," Schrenk said.

Collecting and comparing microbiological and geochemical data across continents is made possible through the DCO. The DCO has allowed scientists from across disciplines to better understand and describe these phenomena, he added.


'/>"/>

Contact: Layne Cameron
Layne.cameron@cabs.msu.edu
517-353-8819
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/16/2016)...   IdentyTechSolutions America LLC , a leading ... and a cutting-edge manufacturer of software and hardware ... seamless, integrated solutions that comprise IDT biometric readers ... provide IdentyTech,s customers with combined physical identification and ... and theft. "We are proud to ...
(Date:12/16/2016)... , Dec. 16, 2016 The global wearable medical device ... billion by 2021 from USD 5.31 billion in 2016, at a ... ... driven by technological advancements in medical devices, launch of a growing ... for wireless connectivity among healthcare providers, and increasing focus on physical ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... , Dec. 15, 2016   WaferGen Bio-systems, ... held genomics technology company, announced today that on December ... Qualifications Department of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC which ... bid price of WaferGen,s common stock had been at ... WaferGen has regained compliance with Listing Rule 5550(a)(2) of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/14/2017)... ARLINGTON, Va. , Jan. 13, 2017  The ... following statement in response to FDA final guidance ... FDA for its continued leadership in emphasizing the importance ... members are keenly aware of the benefits biosimilars will ... costs.   Yet the portion of the ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... ... January 13, 2017 , ... ... demand that it has found among its diverse customer base. The latest entry ... in most brands electroporators including BTX and Bio-Rad. FireflySci is introducing three distinct ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... ... January 12, 2017 , ... ... short response times capable of performing routine electrochemical biosensing has increased dramatically. ... provide fast, sensitive detection and quantification of various analytes in complex samples. ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... 12, 2017   Protein Sciences Corporation , ... Flublok Influenza Vaccine ®, announced today that ... good safety results and induced strong neutralizing antibodies ... product is expected to advance into human clinical ... the Institute of Technology in Immunobiologicals of the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: