DCO Project Summary

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Project Title
Deep-Life I: Microbial Carbon Transformation in Rock-Hosted Deep Subsurface Habitats
Start DateEnd Date
2012-01-01 2014-06-30
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The Rock-Hosted Communities (RHC) grant sought to provide baseline data related to the distribution and function of microbial communities in rocky subsurface habitats underlying the continents and oceans. The grant served to link both field and experimental studies of rock-hosted microbial communities, with a particular focus upon the metabolism of carbon compounds.  Application of molecular biological approaches, utilizing next-generation sequencing technology, provided a foundation to understand the potential, the diversity, and the evolution of metabolic pathways. These surveys were linked to the physiological characterization of novel cultivars, particularly at high pressure, and to activity measurements using stable isotope tracer approaches. These activities were coordinated across participating laboratories through face-to-face meetings, virtual meetings, and research exchanges.

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Reporting Year 2014 Click to expand

  • RY2014-1 - submitted on Aug 31, 2014

    Update Details:

    Extensive sequence data sets describing novel and difficult to study habitats related to serpentinization, water-rock reactions, and subseafloor hydrothermalism have been generated. These data sets include tag sequencing surveys (complementing CoDL), genomes of microbial isolates, metagenomes, genomes of sorted single cells, and metatranscriptomes. The sequence data are nested in geochemical descriptions of the associated environments, in particular the sources and sinks of carbon. These studies have been conducted using highly parallel methods and ongoing collaborations are working to synthesize the data across the habitats described into global models. Field samples from deep subsurface environments at the Mid Cayman Rise and Precambrian Shield systems were collected for the enrichment and isolation of novel piezophilic cultivars. A critical element of the RHC grant has been the high degree of coordination and cross-over amongst the sub-projects, facilitating scientific advances on both the individual and collective project(s) and resulting in the training of a multitude of new investigators.

    The RHC project has facilitated a number of publications which began to quantify and constrain the activities of microorganism in the rocky, deep subsurface environment, and have served to set up an intellectual framework to understand microbial processing of carbon in these habitats. Follow on projects will capitalize upon these investments, including deep drilling into serpentinizing rocks in Oman and the Atlantis Massif (Mid Atlantic Ridge) in 2015, mechanistic studies related to water-rock reactions and life funded by the NASA Astrobiology Institute from 2015-2019, and phylogenetic studies funded by the US National Science Foundation. Additional follow-on activities are in progress and project updates will be provided as these come to fruition.

Related ProjectsProject URIDCO ID
http://info.deepcarbon.net/individual/n9479 11121/8153-3361-8778-4979-CC
http://info.deepcarbon.net/individual/n2911 11121/3731-3787-1604-7520-CC
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