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Pushcore being taken by DSV Alvin for microfaunal analysis from a Gulf of Mexico cold seep, a so-called ?extreme environment.?

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Epifluorescence micrograph of a DAPI stained specimen of the anaerobic ciliate Metopus verrucosus. The blue color, from DAPI, shows the three macronuclei of the ciliate as well as transverse bands of rod-shaped ectosymbionts. Surrounding material is from co-occurring microbiota, including filamentous sulfur oxidizing bacteria. Sample from Santa Barbara Basin, CA. Photo by Joan M. Bernhard.

At its broadest definition, Geobiology uses interdisciplinary approaches to investigate interactions between the biosphere and lithosphere or atmosphere.  Geobiology projects at WHOI include:

  • Protistan and metazoan life in extreme environments (seeps, sulfidic sediments, ice; Bernhard, Edgcomb, Das, Kujawinski)
  • Protistan-Prokaryote symbioses and potential effects on pore water chemistry (Bernhard, Edgcomb)
  • Microbial controls on sediment biogeochemistry (e.g., McCorkle, Martin, Casciotti, Bernhard)
  • Microbial interactions in sediments (Bernhard)
  • Protist / microbial influences on sediment chemistry and fabric (Bernhard
  • Use of lipid biomarkers to understand the production, transformation, transport and preservation of organic matter in marine and terrestrial environments (Eglinton, Reddy, Van Mooy)
  • Microbe-organic contaminant interactions in aquatic systems (Reddy, Kujawinksi, Eglinton)
  • DNA in ancient sediments (Coolen)
  • Biomineralization (Cohen, McCorkle, Gaetani, Bernhard)

Links to other WHOI research at the biology-geology-chemistry interface: 
Biomineralization & geochemistry of biogenic carbonate
Sediment Geochemistry

Laser Scanning Confocal Micrograph of
part of a fluorescently labeled core processed
for FLEC (see Bernhard web page). 
Sediment-water interface is near the top of the
image, all live organisms are bright green,
larger individuals are foraminifera; filaments
are bacteria.  This method is a powerful new
addition to microbial ecology that has shown
unprecedented spatial associations among
microbiota at the sub-millimeter scale.  Many
environments remain to be investigated using
this approach.  Image, J.M. Bernhard.  


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Last updated November 30, 2006
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