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2008 Annual Science Report

University of Hawaii, Manoa Reporting  |  JUL 2007 – JUN 2008

Sediment-Buried Basement Deep Biosphere

Project Summary

There is growing evidence that a substantial subseafloor biosphere extends throughout the immense volume of aging basement (basaltic rock) of the ocean crust. Since most ocean basement rock is buried under thick, impermeable layers of sediment, the fluids circulating within the underlying ocean basement are usually inaccessible for direct studies. Circulation Obviation Retrofit Kit (CORK) observatories affixed to Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) boreholes offer an unprecedented opportunity to study biogeochemical properties and microbial diversity in circulating fluids from deep ocean basement. UH-NAI post doctoral fellows (e.g., Brian Glazer, Andrew Boal)

4 Institutions
3 Teams
0 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

A. We have secured major funding ($1.2 M) from NSF-Microbial Research (a Microbial Observatory grant) to continue our investigation into the deep-subsurface biosphere via CORK Observatories at the Juan de Fuca Ridge flanks. We were able to leverage UH-NAI research funds and personnel, as well as EO opportunities to obtain this NSF funding. We have significantly modified our existing seafloor CORK instrumentation sled (the GeoMICROBE sled).

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    James Cowen James Cowen
    Project Investigator
    Jan Amend Jan Amend
    Brian Glazer Brian Glazer
    Michael Rappe
    Lisa Nakata
    Research Staff

    Sean Jungbluth
    Doctoral Student

    Huei-Ting Lin
    Doctoral Student

    Micheal Matzinger
    Doctoral Student

    Kristina Mojica
    Doctoral Student

    Ryan Matsumoto
    Undergraduate Student

    Amanda Ricardo
    Undergraduate Student

    Soo Huey Teh
    Undergraduate Student

    Objective 1.1
    Models of formation and evolution of habitable planets

    Objective 3.3
    Origins of energy transduction

    Objective 4.1
    Earth's early biosphere

    Objective 5.1
    Environment-dependent, molecular evolution in microorganisms

    Objective 5.2
    Co-evolution of microbial communities

    Objective 5.3
    Biochemical adaptation to extreme environments

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

    Objective 6.2
    Adaptation and evolution of life beyond Earth