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2013 Annual Science Report

Arizona State University Reporting  |  SEP 2012 – AUG 2013

Stoichiometry of Life - Task 2c - Field Studies - Other

Project Summary

We performed biogeochemical and microbiological studies of novel aquatic habitats, floating pumice in lakes of northern Patagonia that were derived from the 2011 eruption of the Puyehue / Cordon Caulle volcano in Chile.

4 Institutions
3 Teams
0 Publications
1 Field Site
Field Sites

Project Progress

Life on floating pumice: Director’s Discretionary Fund project. During 2012, we obtained supplementary funding from the NAI DDF to take advantage of the opportunity for astrobiological research presented by the massive eruption of the Puyehue / Cordon Caulle volcano near Bariloche, Argentina (Elser’s sabbatical leave location). During January/February 2012, Elser along with student J. Corman, postdoc Z. Lee, and NAI collaborator J. Siefert collaborated with Argentinian colleagues E. Balseiro and B. Modenutti to sample floating pumice, perform nutrient uptake studies, and extract DNA for 16S sequencing. During the past year the DNA samples were processed at University of Illinois sequencing center and the massive amount of data (70,000 sequences) is under analysis by M. Kellom, an ASU PhD student. Biogeochemical analyses have largely been completed and isotope samples for assessment of P and N uptake rates are now being completed. It is expected that a manuscript will be prepared from this work during January 2014 (Refer to Figure 1).

Figure 1: Preliminary heat map showing relative abundances of different microbial taxa (OTU's; columns) on pumice vs in accompanying lake water for various lakes and dates (rows). While preliminary, the data show distinct differences between biota living on the pumice versus those in the lake water itself.