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2014 Annual Science Report

Pennsylvania State University Reporting  |  SEP 2013 – DEC 2014

Biosignatures of Life in Extremely Energy-Limited Environments

Project Summary

The terrestrial subsurface is the least explored habitat on earth and is characterized by darkness and reducing conditions that limit how fast microbes can obtain energy (low energy fluxes). The diversity and metabolic strategies of microbes in this environment are the subject of our investigation.

4 Institutions
3 Teams
2 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

Magical Sink
Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology (MPIMM) student Sebastian Haas graduated in early March 2014. A mansucript based on the remarkable findings in his Masters thesis is in preparation for publication.

Jones, D. S., Kohl, C., Grettenberger, C., Larson, L. N., Burgos, W. D. and Macalady, J. L. 2014. Geochemical niches of Fe-oxidizing acidophiles in an acidic coal mine drainage, accepted Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Hamilton, T.L., Jones, D.S., Schaperdoth, I., and Macalady, J. L. 2014. Metagenomic insights into S(0) precipitation in a terrestrial subsurface lithoautotrophic ecosystem, accepted Frontiers in Extreme Microbiology.

Jones, D.S., Schaperdoth, I. and Macalady, J. L. 2014. Biogeography of Acidithiobacillus populations in extremely acidic subaerial cave biofilms, submitted to ISME Journal.

    Jennifer Macalady
    Project Investigator

    Daniel Jones

    Rebecca McCauley

    Kenneth Broad

    Alessandro Montanari

    Objective 4.1
    Earth's early biosphere.

    Objective 4.3
    Effects of extraterrestrial events upon the biosphere

    Objective 5.1
    Environment-dependent, molecular evolution in microorganisms

    Objective 5.3
    Biochemical adaptation to extreme environments

    Objective 7.1
    Biosignatures to be sought in Solar System materials