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2003 Annual Science Report

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Reporting  |  JUL 2002 – JUN 2003

Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry

4 Institutions
3 Teams
0 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

Stable isotope biogeochemistry was studied in four projects during this year. 1) Isotopic composition of fossil food webs in the Enspel formation. This 25 million year old deposit has recognizable fossils that have retained their original isotopic signatures. 2) Oxygen isotopes in oceanic phosphates. Oxygen isotopes in phosphate record bacterial turnover and could be used as biosignatures. 3) Carbon isotopes in the Apex cherts. These 3.5 billion year old samples are controversial as to whether the carbon in these rocks is biologically or non-biologically derived. 4) Fe oxidizing bacteria and autotrophic growth. These microorganisms are thought to be important CO2 fixing bacteria at hydrothermal vents. The role in early life and on Mars is debated.

    Marilyn Fogel Marilyn Fogel
    Project Investigator
    Andrew Steele Andrew Steele
    John Lindsay

    Albert Colman

    Robin Sutka

    Maia Schweizer
    Undergraduate Student

    Objective 4.1
    Earth's early biosphere

    Objective 6.1
    Environmental changes and the cycling of elements by the biota, communities, and ecosystems

    Objective 7.1
    Biosignatures to be sought in Solar System materials

    Objective 7.2
    Biosignatures to be sought in nearby planetary systems