I have been fortunate enough to have been invited to present my C-DEBI and Deep Carbon Observatory funded research, as well as chair and convene sessions, at many conferences and workshops throughout the later half of 2019. Highlights have included the Goldschmidt conference in Barcelona, the Geobiology meeting in Banff, the C-DEBI annual meeting and ECR workshop in Marina, California, various DCO meetings including the 'Deep Carbon 2019' and the 'Biotic Fringe' workshop in Washington DC and LUMCON, Louisiana, respectively, and the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco.
The summer months of 2019 took us to Greenland and Iceland where we are focussed on elucidating various aspects of the microbial processes and carbon cycling in snow and ice settings.
Our science team comprised of microbiologists, molecular ecologists, geochemists, and modelers. We all study cryospheric environments and the processes linked to how snow and ice microbes in general and pigmented algae in particular affect nutrient and carbon cycling, as well as albedo in Polar settings.
Joining me from GFZ were Liane Benning, Chris Trivedi, Matthias Winkel, and Rey Mourot. From Aarhus University: Alex Anesio, Laura Halbach and Eva Doting.
First, we were based at the remote Sermilik Station in SE Greenland, working on the Greenland Ice Sheet and on Mittivakkat glacier. This field work is part of the project AirMiMic, which is in part funded by InterAct, the Helmholtz Recruiting Initiative and a Humboldt Foundation Fellowship grant. Then, continuing on to Iceland’s Snæfellsjökull National Park and Langjökull.
Not only was our time in the field highly productive, but the ‘dream team’ couldn’t have been happier to be there - working in such a remote and visually stunning environment, hiking many miles through mountainous and glaciated terrain, cooking highly improvised meals, moving several tons of fright to a remote ice camp, and learning that helicopter and boat schedules can never be relied on!
Check out the Gallery for some images from the field, and hold tight on the exciting science that is underway. Thanks to the entire team for such a beautiful and memorable time.
Going to AGU 2019? Submit to our #deepbiosphere #biogeochemistry session B076: Microbial Metabolisms and Biogeochemical Processes in Earth's Subsurface
Earth’s subsurface contains the majority of the planet’s prokaryotic life, and is the largest reservoir of organic carbon. Microbial activity in the subsurface shapes biogeochemical cycles from nanometer to planetary scales, over thousand-year timescales. Recent advances in technological, analytical, -omics, and modeling approaches have led to substantial progress toward linking microorganisms to major biogeochemical cycles, as well as in defining the boundaries and limits of life. We encourage abstracts on field, laboratory and theoretical studies that present new insight into the environmental and geological drivers that shape microbial metabolisms, the diversity and imprint of life in and on the subsurface, and the limits of life. This session encompasses all of Earth’s subsurface environments including the marine, continental, and crustal biosphere, and we wish to promote cross-disciplinary dialogue between (but not limited to) microbiologists, geobiologists, geochemists, and modelers.
Session chairs: James Bradley, Cara Magnabosco, Nagissa Mahmoudi
Geobiology is truly a bridge of scientific fields, approaches, and timescales: geochemists, microbiologists, geologists, evolutionary biologists and many more come together to study the co-evolution of life and Earth. If you have some interest in any or all of the above, then the bi-annual Geobiology Society Conference in Banff, Canada, is absolutely the place to be. I was privileged to be invited to speak, presenting my research on the bio-energetics of subsurface life. I also spoke on a panel, interacted with friends new and old, learnt about fascinating new discoveries and ideas in geobiology, climbed and explored the Canadian Rocky Mountains, and uncovered more than half a billion years of Earth history hunting for fossils at the Burgess Shale. Thanks Kurt and all others involved for hosting my new favourite conference!
With less than two months until we set off for Greenland, via Iceland, activity in Germany and Denmark is ramping up for this summer’s Arctic fieldwork for the AirMiMic project (InterAct). We will spend July and August in East Greenland to understand how climatological and environmental changes are affecting geobiological factors on the ice, and head back to Iceland for a shorter field campaign. Our team are busy in the labs at GFZ, testing instruments, equipment, and experiments for the field. Final logistical details are being put in place, supplies are ordered, and shipping is arranged. The science team consists of Liane Benning, Chris Trivedi, Audrey Mourot, Matthias Winkel (GFZ), Alex Anesio, Eva Doting, and Laura Halback (Aarhus University), and myself. Having not stepped onto ‘the ice’ since my expedition to Antarctica in January 2018 (Montreal winter doesn’t count despite hitting temperatures similar to or even lower than what I experienced in Antarctica), I’m buzzing to get back to the high latitudes. We are grateful to InterAct, the Humboldt Foundation, the University of Aarhus, and Helmholtz/GFZ for supporting the expedition.
I am delighted to start a new appointment as Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Environmental Science at Queen Mary University of London. Research in the lab will focus on geobiology, bioenergetics, microbiology of extreme environments (including Arctic and Antarctic habitats), deep biosphere, and environmental change. Interested students/postdocs/researchers please get in touch!