Navigation Links
USC awarded $3.9M for lab under the sea
Date:2/21/2008

Think of bacteria eating rock. Now think of bacteria eating rock below the ocean floor. How about experimenting on bacteria in that rock 15,000 feet underwater"

With a $3.9 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, USC researcher Katrina Edwards will lead a first-of-its-kind drilling expedition to study subseafloor life.

Recently discovered subseafloor microbes, which live on chemical reactions with rock and water, may affect ocean chemistry, the marine food web and global climate.

Thats because the entire volume of Earths oceans appears to circulate through the seabed every 200,000 years lightning fast, by geologic standards.

The ocean crust is more like fractured hard sponge cake than what we think of as truly solid, Edwards explained.

Yet scientists know little about this deep biosphere, so Edwards and more than 30 colleagues have pushed for an observatory and at least a decade of research, which the Moore Foundation grant helps make possible.

Dr. Edwards is pursuing one of the most fascinating problems in science, said David Kingsbury, chief program officer of science at the Moore Foundation, based in San Francisco.

With the recognition that the subseafloor ocean may teem with microbial life comes new, fundamental questions about the evolution and distribution of life and the operation of the carbon cycle, he added.

The grant will fund complex engineering and instrumentation needed for long-term experiments at and below the seafloor. The drilling will occur under the auspices of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, an international marine research program funded by the National Science Foundation and Asian government agencies. Shallow drilling is expected to begin in 2009, and deeper drilling in 2010.

The undertaking will further bridge the earth and life sciences, a key goal in the emerging field of geobiology, described by Edwards as the co-evolution of Earth and life.

The deep biosphere is uniquely suited for a geobiological approach, Edwards said, since a proper understanding requires genomics, analysis of microbe-rock chemical interactions and a timescale in the millions of years.

Edwards and colleagues will drill at a site near Bermuda through sediments that have accumulated over 7 million years. In addition, they will drill into the basalt below and then conduct long-term experiments in both rock types.

The observatory is expected to uncover new details about the microbes details impossible to obtain using only rock samples, lab cultures and other traditional methods.

In addition, the unique site with its deep bed of sediments enclosed by basalt will allow researchers to understand where the bacteria came from.

The bacteria could have swum up into the sediments from below or they could have floated down from above, Edwards explained.

Genetic and metabolic pathway data will help the scientists understand how bacteria at different depths in the sediment are related to each other and to other known species.

This in turn could offer clues about how the bacteria evolved, perhaps shedding light on the origin of life.

Still, the scientists are unsure of what they will ultimately discover.

No one has ever done a project like this before, so we really dont know, Edwards said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Terah DeJong
tdejong@usc.edu
213-740-8606
University of Southern California
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Springer author Carlos M. Duarte awarded Spanish science prize
2. 2008 Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation awarded to Dr. Marie-Joëlle Rochet from IFREMER
3. 2008 Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation awarded to Fan Meng; first Chinese fellow
4. 2008 Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation awarded to Dr. Ussif Rashid Sumaila
5. Dr. Andrew Constable awarded 2008 Pew Fellowship in marine conservation
6. 2008 Pew Fellowship in marine conservation awarded to UM Rosenstiels Dr. Andrew Baker
7. UA-led research team awarded $50 million to solve plant biologys grand challenge questions
8. Research pioneer in the developmental origins of psychiatric illness is awarded the Sackler prize
9. $13 million federal grant for research into vascular disease awarded to Weill Cornell
10. 2 federal public health grants awarded to Weill Cornell Medical College
11. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratorys lung cancer research program awarded $100,000 grant
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/12/2016)... 2016 WearablesResearch.com , a brand of ... results from the Q1 wave of its quarterly wearables ... consumers, receptivity to a program where they would receive ... insurance company. "We were surprised to see ... Michael LaColla , CEO of Troubadour Research, "primarily because ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... GOTHENBURG, Sweden , April 28, 2016 ... 1,491.2 M (139.9), up 966% compared with the first quarter of ... Operating profit totaled SEK 589.1 M (loss: 18.8) and the operating ... SEK 7.12 (loss: 0.32) Cash flow from operations was ... , The 2016 revenue guidance is unchanged, SEK 7,000-8,500 M. ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... 2016  A new partnership announced today will ... decisions in a fraction of the time it ... high-value life insurance policies to consumers without requiring ... Force Diagnostics, rapid testing (A1C, Cotinine and HIV) ... pressure, weight, pulse, BMI, and activity data) available ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... , ... Supplyframe, the Industry Network for electronics hardware design ... Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission is to bring together inventors ... and brought to market. , The Design Lab is Supplyframe’s physical representation of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... LOUISVILLE, Ky. , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... from two Phase 1 clinical trials of its ... double-blind, placebo-controlled, single and multiple ascending dose studies ... and pharmacodynamics (PD) of subcutaneous injection in healthy ... APL-2 subcutaneously (SC) either as a single dose ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 On Wednesday, June 22, ... down 0.22%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.27% lower ... 2,085.45, down 0.17%. Stock-Callers.com has initiated coverage on the following ... Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR ), Aralez Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ... BIND ). Learn more about these stocks by accessing ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... of intelligent tools designed, tuned and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC machining centers ... The result of a collaboration among several companies with expertise in toolholding, cutting ...
Breaking Biology Technology: