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Katrina Edwards


Katrina Edwards grew up in central Ohio, where she pursued an initial early career in the family business of running a small municipal airport just north of Columbus. She spent several years assisting her father and siblings in general airport operations (graduating to the role of chief flight instructor), which she continued as she pursued a bachelor’s degree in geology at Ohio State University. Edwards then “retired” to attend the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she earned a Ph.D. in geomicrobiology—the first degree in this field ever awarded by the university. Edwards and her family moved to Massachusetts in 1999 to join WHOI, where she established a geomicrobiology lab. It focuses on “the tooth decay of the solid Earth,” she says, or more specifically, the transformation and degradation of Earth materials (rocks, minerals, organic matter) by microbes. Edwards now enjoys deep-sea exploration, as long as someone else “flies” the submarine and she can focus on geomicrobiological research.

Katrina Edwards

The Deeps of Time in the Depths of the Ocean

The Deeps of Time in the Depths of the Ocean

Wherever we have looked in the oceans, we have found previously unknown microorganisms. We have often found them living in conditions once thought to be incompatible with life, using unfamiliar physiologic and metabolic adaptations. These discoveries have radically changed our thinking about where and how life may have originated and evolved on this planet, and where it might exist on others.

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