2008 Annual Science Report
Pennsylvania State University Reporting | JUL 2007 – JUN 2008
Laboratory Microbial Simulations: Astrobiological Signatures
We aim to use laboratory and field environments to investigate microorganisms and their biogeochemical signatures. We have investigated methanotrophic seeps and deeply-buried marine environments, as well as used laboratory pure-cultures to further our understanding of diverse metabolisms.
This past year we had very important papers published on a number of different topics. The following are examples. We showed that cyanobacteria have a distinct nitrogen isotopic signature when exposed to high Fe concentrations, a condition that might occur during ocean anoxic events (published in JGR). We showed that Methanosarcina can grow by producing methyl-sulfides (published in AEM). We presented a new model for how the anaerobic oxidation of methane might operate (published in Environmental Microbiology). We published a paper on the metagenomic signatures of microbial life in the marine subsurface (published in PNAS).
PROJECT INVESTIGATORS:Christopher House
Project InvestigatorJean Brenchley
PROJECT MEMBERS:Jennifer Biddle
RELATED OBJECTIVES:Objective 2.1
Earth's early biosphere
Environment-dependent, molecular evolution in microorganisms
Co-evolution of microbial communities
Biochemical adaptation to extreme environments
Biosignatures to be sought in Solar System materials