Fifty years of scientific ocean drilling; biosphere frontiers

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Author(s): Heuer, Verena Bernadette
Author Affiliation(s): Primary:
University of Bremen, Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, Bremen, Germany
Volume Title: AGU 2018 fall meeting
Source: American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, Vol.2018; American Geophysical Union 2018 fall meeting, Washington, DC, Dec. 10-14, 2018. Publisher: American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC, United States
Note: In English
Summary: Fifty years of scientific ocean drilling have shown the omnipresence of microorganisms deep inside the ocean floor. Microbial cells have been found to exist even in extreme subseafloor environments; e.g. in nutrient poor sediments underneath ocean gyres (D'Hondt et al., 2015), in old sediments of Cretaceous age (Roussel et al., 2008), in the greatest sediment depth sampled to date at ∼2.5 kilometers below seafloor (Inagaki et al., 2015), and in fluids and rocks of the oceanic crust (Orcutt et al., 2011; Lever et al., 2013). To date, the bottom of the deep biosphere has not been located yet, and the total amount of biomass that it harbors is still a matter of debate. In the Earth system, the inhabited ocean floor poses an important but little understood interface for geosphere-biosphere interactions. The metabolic activities of deeply buried microbes are extraordinarily low, but microbial cells are physiologically active or surviving in dormant phase. Obtaining even a basic understanding of the physiological capabilities and biogeochemical consequences of subseafloor life challenges existing analytical technologies and drilling strategies. To date, we have only started to recognize the role of the subseafloor biosphere in sediment and rock alteration, crustal hydrology, and biogeochemical cycles. The factors posing ultimate limits to deep life and the habitability of Earth still remain to be resolved. This presentation will recollect the discovery of the deep marine biosphere in the course of expeditions conducted by the Deep Sea Drilling Program (DSDP), Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) and Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), and it will highlight on-going and future activities in the Biosphere Frontiers theme of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP). References: D'Hondt, S. et al., 2015, Nat. Geosci. 8, 299-304. doi: 10.1038/ngeo2387. Inagaki, F. et al., 2015, Science 349, 420-424. doi: 10.1126/science.aaa6882. Lever, M. A. et al., 2013, Science 339, 1305-1308. doi: 10.1126/science.1229240. Orcutt, B. N. et al. 2011, ISME Journal 5, 692-703. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2010.157. Roussel, E. G. et al. 2008, Science 320, 1046-. doi: 10.1126/science.1154545
Year of Publication: 2018
Research Program: DSDP Deep Sea Drilling Project
IODP Integrated Ocean Drilling Program
IODP2 International Ocean Discovery Program
ODP Ocean Drilling Program
Key Words: 07 Marine Geology and Oceanography; Deep Sea Drilling Project; Drilling; Ecology; History; Integrated Ocean Drilling Program; International Ocean Discovery Program; International cooperation; Ocean Drilling Program; Research
Record ID: 2019050455
Copyright Information: GeoRef, Copyright 2019 American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by, and/or abstract, Copyright, American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC, United States

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