Sloan Foundation: Deep Carbon Observatory Workshop
Sloan Foundation: Deep Carbon Observatory Carbon Cycling Workshop
Participants from all over the world attended this workshop in Bloemfontein, South Africa
USA; New Mexico Tech, Princeton University, Portland State University, Carnegie Institution of Washington, University of Delaware, Montana State University, Arizona State University, J Craig Venter institute, Oregon State University, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin, University of Southern California, NASA Headquarters
BELGIUM; Ghent University
DENMARK; Aarhus University
SWEDEN; Gothenburg University
SWITZERLAND; University of Bern
When and where
January 18-23, 2011
Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Over the past decade great progress has been made in characterizing the abundance and diversity of the deep subsurface biosphere, but many mysteries remain to be answered when it comes to the in situ processes of growth, biogeochemical cycling, evolution and death of subsurface microorganisms. The workshop, “New Horizons for International Investigations into Carbon Cycling in the Deep Crustal Biosphere”, brought together scientists from Canada, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Russia, the United States and South Africa to explore new approaches for retrieving geochemical, isotopic, metagenomic, transcriptomic, metabolomic and proteomic information from the deep subsurface biosphere where cell concentrations are low and metabolic rates are very slow. The setting is appropriate given the discovery of abiogenic hydrocarbons and radiolytic H 2 in the deep fractures of the Witwatersrand Basin, the recent publication of the first subsurface metagenome from 2.8 km depth at Mponeng Au mine and the recent establishment of an underground laboratory at 3.8 km depth in Tau Tona Au mine for microbial studies.
Topics ranged from the interactions between subsurface microorganisms and their environment, to protein structures from subsurface thermophiles, to bioremediation of toxic metals, to CO 2 sequestration, to lipid biochemistry, to the use of RNA to document subsurface activity. The second goal of this workshop was to inaugurate the Network of Inner Space Observatories (NISO), an international research network dedicated to the development of underground laboratories and mines for microbial studies.
This workshop was sponsored by the Deep Carbon Observatory ( http://dco.gl.ciw.edu/ ) and hosted by the Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology, University of the Free State.
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