University of California San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Watch the recorded presentation
Volcanoes are well recognized for their at times catastrophic eruptions harming humanity, but yet, they are also the ultimate renewal agent for earth’s biosphere. Fertile volcanic soils in Indonesia feed many more people than other non-volcanic regions of the planet, and Deep Biosphere studies suggest that much of the global biosphere is present below our feet. We have explored the relationships between the microbial biosphere and volcanic rocks in the geological record, at active volcanoes on the seafloor, and, most recently in Antarctica. There, “normal” foodstuffs are not available to the biosphere and it is advantageous for life to be able to draw nutrients and energy from rocks.
In this talk, I will give an account of our travels in Antarctica, where we explored a number of exciting environments, including Dark Oligotrophic Volcanic Environments (DOVEs), from environments below the sea-ice and ice-covered Antarctic lakes, and the edge of glaciers where microbes may colonize volcanic rock. This talk will focus on the reasoning why we went to Antarctica and on the description of our experiments in ice caves, below the sea ice and in lakes in the Dry Valleys. I will also present some of our insights on microbial activities that we explored by studying samples we recovered from these extreme environments.
Antarctica Expedition Website
Our Scuba Diving Video
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Central Oregon Geoscience Society
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