Navigation Links
New research into the deep ocean floor yields promising results for microbiologists
Date:6/13/2010

KNOXVILLE -- Research by a small group of microbiologists is revealing how marine microbes live in a mysterious area of the Earth: the realm just beneath the deep ocean floor. The ocean crust may be the largest biological reservoir on our planet.

Beth Orcutt, a post-doctoral fellow at Aarhus University in Denmark and the University of Southern California, presented her new findings about this little researched realm today at Goldschmidt 2010, an annual conference sponsored by a number of international geochemical societies and hosted this year by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

"I think this research is exciting because it offers us a glimpse into a habitat on Earth that we know next to nothing about," Orcutt said. "If you consider how much ocean crust there is on Earth, and how much of that is hydrologically active, then this environment could be one of the most massive habitats for microbial life on Earth. There may be new species of life and new types of metabolism that we haven't discovered yet."

There has been limited research into this deep marine crust, so Orcutt and her colleagues have developed new hole-boring technologies to study microbial life living beneath rock on the seafloor. Orcutt must use a robotic submarine to reach this realm, buried under 2660 meters (1⅔ miles) of water. Then she must drill through 260 meters (850 feet) of sediment. The microbes Orcutt and her team study receive no light that far beneath the ocean floor, so part of what they are exploring is how these microscopic organisms survive in such harsh conditions.

Orcutt believes this research also can yield a new understanding of the potential for life on other planets. The subsurface under deep oceans is an extreme environment for any life to exist. Such environments may be present on other planets, so Orcutt theorizes that life might exist there in the form of microbial organisms.

"I hope that the general public will understand that the ocean isn't just a giant pond with a featureless, unexciting bottom," Orcutt said. "The seafloor and sub-seafloor are exciting environments where microbes rule. We have to develop sophisticated experiments to try to learn more about these microbial habitats, experiments which will reveal new information about how life survives and thrives on Earth and maybe about how life may exist on other planets."


'/>"/>

Contact: Whitney Holmes
wholmes7@utk.edu
865-974-5460
University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Research shows skeleton to be endocrine organ
2. Newly created cancer stem cells could aid breast cancer research
3. Dominant cholesterol-metabolism ideas challenged by new research
4. Researchers identify proteins involved in new neurodegenerative syndrome
5. Texas researchers and educators head for Antarctica
6. MGH researchers describe new way to identify, evolve novel enzymes
7. University of Pennsylvania researchers develop formula to gauge risk of disease clusters
8. University of Oregon researcher finds that on waters surface, nitric acid is not so tough
9. U of MN researchers discover noninvasive diagnostic tool for brain diseases
10. U of Minnesota researchers discover noninvasive diagnostic tool for brain diseases
11. Story ideas from the Journal of Lipid Research
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/16/2016)... --  EyeLock LLC , a market leader of iris-based ... IoT Center of Excellence in Austin, Texas ... embedded iris biometric applications. EyeLock,s iris authentication ... with unmatched biometric accuracy, making it the most proven ... platform uses video technology to deliver a fast and ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... , April 28, 2016 Infosys ... (NYSE: INFY ), and Samsung SDS, a global ... that will provide end customers with a more secure, fast ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130122/589162 ) , ... but it also plays a fundamental part in enabling and ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... UAE, April 20, 2016 The ... as a compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution for all ... fingerprint reader or the door interface with integration authorization ... access control systems. The minimal dimensions of the access ... into the building installations offer considerable freedom of design ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... Raleigh, NC (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 ... ... have just published their findings on what they believe could be a new ... summary of the new research. Click here to read it now. ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... June 27, 2016   Ginkgo Bioworks , a ... engineering, was today awarded as one of the ... the world,s most innovative companies. Ginkgo Bioworks is ... the real world in the nutrition, health and ... directly with customers including Fortune 500 companies to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Mosio, a leader in clinical research patient ... and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced clinical research professionals, Mosio revisits the hurdle ... and strategies for clinical researchers. , “The landscape of how patients receive and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Houston ... with the Cy-Fair Sports Association to serve as ... the agreement, Houston Methodist Willowbrook will provide sponsorship ... and connectivity with association coaches, volunteers, athletes and ... with the Cy-Fair Sports Association and to bring ...
Breaking Biology Technology: