2004 Annual Science Report

Marine Biological Laboratory Reporting  |  JUL 2003 – JUN 2004

Executive Summary

From Early Biospheric
Metabolisms to the Evolution of Complex Systems

Early life forms:

One central theme in Astrobiology is to investigate how
ancient life forms influenced early Earth with reference to the formation of
habitats capable of supporting complex biological communities and
multi-cellular organisms. Based upon what we know about Earth’s
2.2-3.5-billion-year evolutionary history, microbial organisms were its sole
inhabitants until the origins of plants and animals, a mere 560—900 million
years ago. The general goal of the Astrobiology Program at the Marine
Biological Laboratory (MBL) is to investigate early evolving metabolisms and
activities that had the potential to reshape planetary environments, and to
understand the evolution of genome architecture that led to more complicated
life forms. These studies contribute to flight-related missions through the
development of life detection technologies and design of models for remote
sensing of bio-signatures. Many of our projects ... Continue reading.

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