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2004 Annual Science Report

University of Hawaii, Manoa Reporting  |  JUL 2003 – JUN 2004

Subglacial Sampling in Iceland

Project Summary

University of Hawaii (UH) NAI-funded preparations for July field work at several sites in Iceland are underway.

4 Institutions
3 Teams
0 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

University of Hawaii (UH) NAI-funded preparations for July field work at several sites in Iceland are underway. These activities will be coordinated with the 2004 Bioastronomy meeting in Reykjavik . The goal is to collect glacial melt water, sediment, and sub-aerial lake samples that will serve as the additional basis for a second hot-water drilling program to sample subglacial lakes in Iceland in 2005. The results of the first expedition, which is the first report of a viable subglacial lake (microbial) community, are in press in Astrobiology and will be presented as a poster at the Bioastronomy meeting. The July, 2004, field work will be conducted with Thorsteinn Thorsteinsson, UH NAI collaborator, and concentrate on sampling glacial streams and emerging glacial sediments at the northern and western margin of the Vatnajokull ice cap. We will also reconnoiter the geothermal area of Kverkfjoll, one of three proposed drilling sites for investigating subglacial water bodies. Finally, we plan to sample a large number of Icelandic subaerial lakes to construct a geochemical and microbial database with which to compare current and future subglacial data. Preparations at UH have included purchase of a moderate-volume centrifuge for microbiology work and various sampling supplies (e.g., pumps, filters).

Ms. Mary Miller (U.S. Army and Embry-Riddle University ) is working as a volunteer in the Gaidos lab on isolating cyanobacteria from calcareous mats in a Mount Saint Helens hot spring. Miller participated in the sampling field work in September, 2003, and fulfilled her independent project requirement for her degree at Embry-Riddle. She presented preliminary results at the March, 2004, general Astrobiolgy meeting at NASA Ames. She is currently investigating aspects of co-culturing different cyanobacteria.

Mr. Nick Moskovitz, a graduate student at the Institute for Astronomy, will be working with Gaidos starting in the fall of 2004, on projects involving the extreme ultraviolet spectra of young stars, and light curve signatures of habitable planets.

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    Eric Gaidos Eric Gaidos
    Project Investigator
    Thorsteinn Thorsteinsson

    Mary Miller
    Graduate Student

    Nick Moskovitz
    Graduate Student

    Objective 1.2
    Indirect and direct astronomical observations of extrasolar habitable planets

    Objective 5.3
    Biochemical adaptation to extreme environments

    Objective 7.2
    Biosignatures to be sought in nearby planetary systems