New insights into microbial life within oceanic crust via sorted cell 'omics



Environmental Biology Seminar Series. Invited speaker: Professor Jackie Goordial, University of Guelph; this seminar is hosted by the Whyte Lab

Online seminar from 11:30-12:30 EST

Online discussion from 2-3:00 EST

Much of what we know about the marine deep biosphere is from efforts on microbial life in deep sediments, which has revealed life to be extensive, diverse, and capable of maintaining slow metabolic activity on very long timescales. Comparatively less is known about the microbial life hosted within oceanic crust, primarily because the low amounts of biomass results in difficult or impossible to obtain DNA for genomic analysis to determine identity and function of the rock inhabiting communities. In spite of generally low biomass in oceanic crust, given the sheer volume of this habitat, the marine rock subsurface is potentially one of Earth’s largest biospheres, and crustal microbiota have profound impacts on global biogeochemical cycling. The Atlantis Massif is an underwater mountain near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (30°N) where ultramafic and mafic rock sequences have been uplifted to the seafloor along a fault zone.  IODP Expedition 357 used seabed drills for the first time in the ocean drilling program to collect shallow subsurface cores from this environment, recovering sediment and rock samples with ultralow biomass (10 - 10,000 cells cm-3). In this talk, I will discuss novel genomic insights into microbial lifestyles in oceanic crust, enabled by sorted cell concentration methodologies and novel fluorescent staining techniques.

To obtain the Zoom link to participate, please contact [at]

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