2011 Annual Science Report

Arizona State University Reporting  |  SEP 2010 – AUG 2011

Stoichiometry of Life - Task 2d - Field Studies - Marine Hydrothermal Systems: Deep Hot Biosphere - Lead

Project Summary

The deep hot biosphere beneath the seafloor remains one of the most extremely poorly understood ecosystems on Earth. Collaborator Hartnett participated in Leg 331 Deep Hot Biosphere of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program and collected sediments drilled from hydrothermal mounds in the Okinawa Trough region. The organic geochemistry of the sediments will be assessed and related to the presence and activity of microorganisms beneath the seafloor. The scientific party included NAI scientists from three teams (ASU, Penn State, Hawaii) as well as astrobiologists from Japan; the main research objective was to document the existence of an active, metabolically diverse subvent biosphere associated with hydrothermal activity.

4 Institutions
3 Teams
0 Publications
1 Field Site
Field Sites

Project Progress

Deep Hot Biosphere: Collaborator Hartnett participated in Leg 331 Deep Hot Biosphere of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program and collected sediments drilled from hydrothermal mounds in the Okinawa Trough region. The scientific party included NAI scientists from three teams (ASU, Penn State, Hawaii) as well as astrobiologists from Japan. The main research objective was to document the existence of an active, metabolically diverse subvent biosphere associated with hydrothermal activity. Sediment core samples were collected to provide geologic and geochemical context for the microbiological assessments. The organic content and the chemical composition of the organic carbon in these sediments has been determined and is being related to the presence of microorganisms beneath the seafloor. In addition, at great depths in these drill cores, temperatures were high enough to preclude microbial life entirely, allowing comparisons of the organic composition of biologically influenced and abiological sediments.

Personnel: Hilairy Hartnett

  • PROJECT INVESTIGATORS:
  • PROJECT MEMBERS:
    Hilairy Hartnett
    Co-Investigator

  • RELATED OBJECTIVES:
    Objective 5.2
    Co-evolution of microbial communities

    Objective 5.3
    Biochemical adaptation to extreme environments