Navigation Links
Scientists look to microbes to unlock Earth's deep secrets
Date:1/10/2012

Of all the habitable parts of our planet, one ecosystem still remains largely unexplored and unknown to science: the igneous ocean crust.

This rocky realm of hard volcanic lava exists beneath ocean sediments that lie at the bottom of much of the world's oceans.

While scientists have estimated that microbes living in deep ocean sediments may represent as much as one-third of Earth's total biomass, the habitable portion of the rocky ocean crust may be 10 times as great.

Yet biologists know very little about this ecosystem. The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Mid-Atlantic Ridge Microbiology Expedition set out to change that.

An international team of scientists sailing onboard the research vessel JOIDES Resolution recently returned from installing observatories beneath the seafloor in "North Pond"--a remote area in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Scientists hope that data collected from these subseafloor observatories (known as CORKs, or Circulation Obviation Retrofit Kits), along with studies of rock and sediment samples collected during the expedition, will help to shed light on the role tiny subseafloor microbes play in shaping Earth's oceans and crust.

Led by co-chief scientists Wolfgang Bach of the University of Bremen in Germany and Katrina Edwards of the University of Southern California, the expedition began in Bridgetown, Barbados, on Sep. 16, 2011, and concluded in Ponta Delgada in the Azores on Nov. 17, 2011.

Two CORKs were successfully installed, and sediment and basalt core samples were recovered. CORK observatories are designed to remain in place for up to ten years.

The North Pond subseafloor observatories will allow active experiments to be conducted below the bottom of the ocean for as much as five years after deployment.

Scientists from the expedition plan to return to these observatories with the first of many submersible expeditions in early 2012.

"The innovative and novel experiments and observations from this expedition promise to greatly advance our understanding of the nature and extent of microbial life in the most widespread of environments--the Earth's ocean crust," says Jamie Allan, program director for IODP at the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). NSF co-funds IODP.

In the coming months and years, researchers hope to answer three main questions:

What is the nature of subseafloor microbial communities, and what is their role in the alteration of relatively young ocean crust?

Are these communities unique, particularly in comparison with seafloor and sedimentary communities?

Where do microbes in the igneous ocean crust come from (sediment, rock, seawater or another source)?
'/>"/>

Contact: Cheryl Dybas
cdybas@nsf.gov
703-292-7734
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Nobel history illustrates gap in grants to young scientists
2. Damon Runyon grants Fellowship and Breakthrough Scientist awards to 21 top young scientists
3. UCSB scientists say topography played key role in Deepwater Horizon disaster
4. Illinois scientists link dietary DHA to male fertility
5. Scientists refute Greenpeace claim that genetically modified corn caused new insect pest
6. Scientists characterize protein essential to survival of malaria parasite
7. University scientists aiding fishermen in butterfish conundrum
8. Salk scientists map the frontiers of vision
9. UGA scientists hijack bacterial immune system
10. Scripps Research scientists discover a brain cell malfunction in schizophrenia
11. Sea snails help scientists explore a possible way to enhance memory
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Scientists look to microbes to unlock Earth's deep secrets
(Date:1/22/2016)... , January 22, 2016 ... the addition of the  "Global Behavioral ... offering. --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) ... "Global Behavioral Biometric Market 2016-2020"  report ... Research and Markets ( http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) has ...
(Date:1/20/2016)... Jan. 20, 2016 A market that just ... benefit from the explosion in genomics knowledge. Learn all ... Research. A range of dynamic trends are pushing market ... personalized medicine - pharmacogenomics - pathogen evolution - next ... markets - greater understanding of the role of genetic ...
(Date:1/18/2016)... Calif. , Jan. 18, 2016  Extenua ... software that simplifies the use and access of ... and go-to-market partnership with American Cyber.  ... brings extensive experience leading transformational C4ISR and Cyber ... and integrating the latest proven technology solutions," said ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... regenerative medicine, has announced a new agreement with Bankok,Thailand-based Global Stem Cells Network ... and phsyicians in 15 Latin American countries, including Mexico, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... -- The Maryland House of Delegates and House Speaker ... Maryland School of Medicine Dean E. Albert Reece ... System President and CEO Robert Chrencik , MBA, ... given to the public by the leader of the ... and Mr. Chrencik for their contributions to our statewide ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... 2016  IsoRay, Inc. (NYSE MKT: ISR), a medical ... radioisotope applications for the treatment of prostate, brain, lung, ... financial results for the second quarter and six months ... --> --> Revenue ... 2016, which ended December 31, 2015, a 12% increase ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... , ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) Rocky Mountain Chapter 21st Annual Vendor ... expecting to fill more than 100 tables for its annual event, which will ...
Breaking Biology Technology: