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:3/22/2017)... , March 21, 2017 Optimove ... used by retailers such as 1-800-Flowers and AdoreMe, ... — Product Recommendations and Replenishment. Using Optimove,s machine learning ... personalized product and replenishment recommendations to their customers ... on predictions of customer intent drawn from a ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... At this year,s CeBIT Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel visited ... to the DERMALOG stand together with the Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe. ... the largest German biometrics company the two government leaders could see the ... well as DERMALOG´s multi-biometrics system.   Continue Reading ... ...
(Date:3/16/2017)... 2017 CeBIT 2017 - Against identity fraud with DERMALOG solutions "Made ... ... Used combined in one project, multi-biometric solutions provide a crucial contribution against identity ... Used combined in one project, multi-biometric ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... April 27, 2017 , ... Oncolinx, a spin-out of ... Competition, has truly taken their cancer research out of this world. On April ... Cape Canaveral to the International Space Station’s (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory, managed by ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... Minneapolis, MN (PRWEB) , ... April 27, 2017 ... ... Annual Pain and Migraine Therapeutics Summit ( http://www.paintherapeuticsummit.com ) is coming to San ... medical communities attend this conference to learn about the latest advances in the ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... April 27, 2017 , ... Volunteers supported by SPIE, ... and industry professionals in visiting U.S. Congressional offices in Washington, D.C., yesterday to ... photonics industry. , This year, National Photonics Initiative (NPI) Congressional Visits ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... ... April 26, 2017 , ... Looking ... team-building and cooking events company, offers one-of-a-kind gifts, ranging from gourmet cooking experiences ... California cuisine, and guests leave inspired with new cooking tips and techniques, thanks ...
Breaking Biology Technology: