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:5/6/2017)... , May 5, 2017 RAM ... announced a new breakthrough in biometric authentication based ... quantum mechanical properties to perform biometric authentication. These new ... semiconductor material created by Ram Group and its ... entertainment, transportation, supply chains and security. Ram Group ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... 2017 UBM,s Advanced Design and Manufacturing event ... emerging and evolving technology through its 3D Printing and ... alongside the expo portion of the event and feature ... focused on trending topics within 3D printing and smart ... event will take place June 13-15, 2017 at the Jacob ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... Florida , April 11, 2017 ... a security technology company, announces the appointment of independent Directors ... Bendheim to its Board of Directors, furthering the company,s ... ... of NXT-ID, we look forward to their guidance and benefiting ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/19/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... September 19, 2017 , ... ... a standard fume hood and a high-performance fume hood. Along with the advantages ... and applications for ductless vs. ducted hoods in the laboratory. , Attendees will ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... ... 19, 2017 , ... VetStem Biopharma ’s CEO and founder, Dr. Bob Harman DVM, MPVM, ... book "Stem Cell Therapy: A Rising Tide". Dr. Harman and Dr. Riordan met in ... an interest in the potential of stem cell therapy and a fast friendship was formed. ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... Pleasanton, Calif. and Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) , ... ... ... to delivering rapid care during an biological outbreak is about to be eliminated, ... When asked what makes ExcitePCR’s FireflyDX™ technologies different than other pathogen ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... ... September 19, 2017 , ... Avomeen Analytical ... recipients of its 2017 Science Student Award. The scholarship program is dedicated to ... community service defray the costs of obtaining their science education. , Avomeen began ...
Breaking Biology Technology: