The call for Commonwealth PhD Scholarships from high income countries is open! Candidates must citizens and residents from the following countries: Anguilla, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Malta, New Zealand, Seychelles, St Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands. I am interested in hearing from potential PhD candidates to join the lab - please get in touch!
James was recently interviewed by Mark Fallows on The Impossible Network podcast. During the interview, James covered topics ranging from his upbringing and love of the outdoors, to the politicisation of climate change, the darkening of Greenland's ice, and the impacts of mining the seafloor. Parts 1 and 2 out now - check it out!
Part 1: https://theimpossiblenetwork.com/podcast/dr-james-bradley/
Part 2: https://theimpossiblenetwork.com/podcast/climate-scientist-dr-james-bradley/
The call for H2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowships is open. I am interested in hearing from potential postdoctoral candidates to join the lab to work on research projects related to biogeochemical modelling, geobiology, carbon cycle, glacial ecology & biogeochemistry, deep biosphere and related fields!
Please get in touch for more information, and check out the MSCF website.
Deadline for applications: 9th September 2020.
Our new paper in Nature Ecology & Evolution is out! Glaciers worldwide are retreating as Earth’s climate warms. If we’re going to fully understand what the loss of glaciers means for global biodiversity, we must consider the glacier ecosystems themselves. Much has been written about the literal downstream effects of glacier loss on the biota and ecosystems they influence. But glaciers themselves also host diverse, multi-trophic communities! This diversity is largely microbial (i.e., algae, fungi, bacteria), but glaciers also host microfauna including rotifers and tardigrades. Larger organisms such as ice worms, birds and even mammals also rely on glaciers for refuge, transit, and foraging. Here, we stress that when thinking about how receding glaciers will affect global biodiversity, we should be thinking about the glacier ecosystems themselves as well as those downstream and adjacent.
Stibal M, Bradley J, Edwards A, Hotaling S, Zawierucha K, Rosvold J, Lutz S, Cameron K, Mikucki J, Kohler T, Šabacká M, Anesio A. (2020) Glacial ecosystems are essential to understanding biodiversity responses to glacier retreat. Nature Ecology and Evolution. doi: 10.1038/s41559-020-1163-0
Our new paper in Earth Science Reviews is out – where we review and discuss the role of the ecosystem in organic matter reactivity, degradation and preservation in marine sediments and global biogeochemical cycles, as well as its role in fueling the deep biosphere.
LaRowe D, Arndt S, Bradley J, Estes E, Hoarfrost A, Lang S, Lloyd K, Mahmoudi N, Orsi W, Shah Walter S, Steen A, Zhao R (2020) The fate of organic carbon in marine sediments - New insights from recent data and analysis. Earth Science Reviews. doi: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2020.103146
Our new paper in Limnology & Oceanography evaluates the potential impacts of deep-sea mining on microbial ecosystems and ecosystem services in the deep ocean.
Interest in underwater extraction of mineral resources from the seabed through mining has increased in recent years, driven by consumer demands for metals such as a zinc, cobalt and rare earth elements, which are used in batteries for smartphones and electric cars.
Microbial ecosystems have been overlooked in environmental impact assessments that have examined the consequences of deep-sea mining activities. However, microbes across the seafloor are responsible for a number of important ecosystem services, including fueling the food web. Environments that are promising for mining are often important for the unusual animal and microbe communities they harbor. These environments also foster rich genetic diversity, making them promising candidates in the search for new drugs and potentially suitable for biotechnology applications.
We emphasize the importance of evaluating the consequences of mining activities in environmental assessments, and recommend that baseline analyses of microbial diversity, biomass, and rates of chemical processes be included in environmental impact assessment planning. It is also vital to determine what roles the microbes are playing and assess how they would be impacted by mining.
There is no precedent for mining activities in the deep sea, and therefore the consequences of local-scale destruction and permanent loss of seafloor habitat and endemic microbial life are difficult to predict.
It is vital to understand the potential impacts of mining activities to figure out if they should occur and how to manage them if they do. This is an important conversation between policymakers, industry, and the scientific community, and it’s essential that we work together to get this right. Once these ecosystems are damaged, they may never fully recover.
Orcutt, B.N., Bradley, J.A., Brazelton, W.J., Estes, E.R., Goordial, J.M., Huber, J.A., Jones, R.M., Mahmoudi, N., Marlow, J.J., Murdock, S. and Pachiadaki, M. (2020) Impacts of deep-sea mining on microbial ecosystem services. Limnology & Oceanography. doi: 10.1002/lno.11403
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!