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:2/7/2017)... -- Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. (NYSE and SIX: ZBH), ... the LEERINK Partners 6th Annual Global Healthcare Conference at ... 15, 2017 at 10 a.m. Eastern Time. ... accessed at http://wsw.com/webcast/leerink28/zbh .  The webcast will be ... Investor Relations website at http://investor.zimmerbiomet.com . ...
(Date:2/3/2017)... 3, 2017  Texas Biomedical Research Institute announced that its ... Schlesinger as the Institute,s new President and CEO. Dr. ... 31, 2017. He is currently the Chair of the Department ... for Microbial Interface Biology at Ohio State University. ... President and CEO of Texas Biomed," said Dr. James ...
(Date:2/2/2017)... 2017  EyeLock LLC, a market leader of iris-based ... " What You Should Know About Biometrics in the ... authenticity is a growing concern. In traditional schemes, cryptography ... traditional authentication schemes such as username/password suffer from inherent ... offers an elegant solution to the problem of high-security ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/20/2017)... Francisco, CA (PRWEB) , ... February 20, 2017 ... ... reduce infections in patients with catheters associated with peritoneal dialysis, announced today that ... light-based peritoneal dialysis catheter connection system in Peritoneal Dialysis International (PDI), the ...
(Date:2/19/2017)... ... February 19, 2017 , ... Expanding Portfolio to Include ... weighing equipment with the goal of expanding the reach of its quality and ... Starter water analysis meters were introduced into the market in 2014. , The ...
(Date:2/18/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... ... provides separate comprehensive analytics for the US, Japan ... estimates and forecasts are provided for the period 2015 through 2022. ... data and analytics are derived from primary and secondary research. This ...
(Date:2/17/2017)... , ... February 17, 2017 , ... ... flying hobbyists, and DJI, the world’s leading maker of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), ... public safety officers to use drones effectively, and support educational outreach efforts. , ...
Breaking Biology Technology: