Searching for the Molecular Skeletons of a Hydrothermal Deep Biosphere at Guaymas Basin, Gulf of California
DOEI Funded Research: 2008As the title suggest we will be looking for the molecular lipid remains of organisms that thrive in the near subsurface biosphere in a region that has a high thermal gradient. We will analyze the molecular composition of the sedimentary organic matter and compare what we find with a tandem microbiological and geochemical investigation that is also being done by Dr. Stefan Sievert and Dr. Jeffrey Seewald, respectively. We hope to observe co-varying signals from these three studies that link to changing abundances of specific molecular hydrocarbons. These hydrocarbons, might then serve as a molecular "fingerprint" of the deep biosphere when found in sediments from different places deposited over different spans of geologic time.